Summery: New Years chapter. The members of Avalanche are gathered at 7th heaven to celebrate the new year, but Cloud and Tifa are acting awkward around each other about the evens that took place on Christmas Eve, what will their friends do to fix it?
Author's Note: Cloud may be a OOC in this chapter, nothing too bad, just figured I'd let you know.
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: That's When I'll Stop Loving You ~ N'Sync
A Night To Remember (Tifa's View)
New Year's Eve, it's a night of drinking, dancing and empty broken promises; but a wonderful night just the same. It's a time of year when people can forget their troubles and spend some time with their friends and family, to celebrate a new beginning.
This used to be a painful night for me, marking yet another year that I hadn't told Cloud how I felt. I've tried to tell him so many times before, but each time my heart would fail me, my courage desert me. So he'd been left in the dark, the love of my life not knowing what he meant to me.
But not this year, six days ago on Christmas Eve, we finally told one another how we felt about each other, finally kissed. But things have been…strained since that night, we haven't talked about what happened, and he's becoming distant again.
Right now Cloud's sitting in a dark corner of the bar, stealing glances at me when he thinks I'm not looking. Every time I catch him doing it our eyes meet for a split second, allowing unspoken emotions to flow over the connection. But after a moment he looks hurriedly away, only to stare pointedly at the floor.
This behavior continues as I visit with the members of AVALANCHE, who are gathered at the bar to celebrate. This is one of the only times we've been able to celebrate together, without having to worry about some impending doom from Shinra. Everyone seems to be having a good time and even Vincent is beginning to sway to the music coming from the radio.
The night progresses slowly, everyone seems to be preoccupied with something. Eventually the music cuts off and an announcer comes over the radio, stating that the countdown to the New Years will begin in a minute. My eyes find Cloud's for what must be the one hundredth time that night, I don't care though, I'm perfectly content just staring into his eyes…
"That's it; I've had it with you two!"
I tear my gaze away from Cloud's just in time to see Barret jump out of his chair and storm over to where Cloud is sitting. He grabs Cloud by his shirt collar and drags him to stand in the middle of the room.
Cloud reaches up and rubs the back of his, making no attempt to move. After Barret makes sure he isn't going anywhere he stomps over, grabs me by the wrist and pulls me to stand in front of Cloud.
"For the past two years, the two of you have been pussy footing around the fact that you love each other, I'm sick and tired of the damn awkwardness! Cloud, kiss the damn girl and end my suffering!"
I turn slowly to look at Barret, thoroughly surprised. Barret glares at Cloud and crosses his arms over his vast chest.
"Barret…I…" Cloud tries to protest but Barret cuts him off.
"I mean it Spiky, kiss her."
Cloud rubs his neck again and slowly turns to face me, his eyes finding mine almost instantly. I hear the countdown begin in the background…
I'm only vaguely aware of everyone else in the room, right now all I see is Cloud.
Cloud takes a few steps closer to me, a faint smile on his usually hard face.
He takes my face in his hands and I can hear everyone in the room hold their breath.
Our lips gently together and I slowly snake my arms around his neck. For a moment we're the only two people in the room, possibly in the whole world. The kiss becomes more passionate with every passing second and soon I can feel Cloud's hand move from my face to my waist, pulling me even closer to him.
I can hear Yuffie telling us to knock it off but I ignore her, I'm just happy to be in his arms again, to have his lips against mine, to be enjoying my perfect piece of heaven.
When the kiss finally ends he pulls me into his tight embrace and softly kisses my neck. After a few minutes he pulls away, his eyes searching mine, pleading. He quickly kisses me again, turns, and runs up the stairs to the apartment. I take a few steps forward, but hesitate and decide not to follow him. Knowing Cloud the way I do, he just needs to be alone after doing something like that, for him to kiss me, let alone in front of everyone else, it's just something he doesn't do…
I turn around to face the room, only to find everyone staring at me, too shocked for words. After another minute everyone seems to come to their senses and Yuffie was no time in punching Barret's arm.
"Now look what you did, he left!"
I roll my eyes and sigh deeply, typical.
"Look Yuffie, I just wanted them to kiss, not do…that."
"Well, they did, and now Cloud's gone!"
"Yuffie…" I try to break into their conversation, but their too deep in the argument to notice me.
"He's not gone, he just needs to go and cry for awhile, because he's too screwed up to kiss Tifa!"
"Hey!" I make my voice as loud as I can without yelling, but it's enough to get their attention.
"Cloud is not screwed up Barret; he just…does things differently than everyone else."
I turn to Yuffie next, who is starting at the floor.
"And he's not gone Yuffie; he just needs time to think."
Yuffie head snaps up, her eyes are blazing.
"What does he need to think about? Either he loves you or he doesn't, what's so hard about that?"
"For him it's very hard…he's just so…confused. He'll be fine.
…at least…I hope so…I hope I haven't pushed him away forever. I shouldn't have let that kiss happen…
When everyone leaves for the night I lock the front door and rush upstairs. Cloud isn't anywhere in sight, he must've gone to bed already.
I walk down the hallway to the kid's room and open the door quietly. The light from the hall spills into the room and bathes Denzel and Marlene in its soft glow. They're both sleeping soundly; I'll be able to talk to Cloud without waking them.
I close the door again and proceed down the hall to Cloud's room. I hesitate before knocking, what am I going to say to him? I've never experienced anything like this before, I've never felt anything like this before…so what I supposed to do?
I take a deep breath and slowly let it out, preparing myself for whatever's about to happen. I slowly open the door and peek inside.
No answer. I open the door fully and step inside, scanning the room, being sure I haven't missed anything.
"Alright Cloud, where are you?"
I leave the room and search the rest of the house, and after 10 minutes, I still can't find him. Defeated, I retreat to my room, worried and exhausted. When I collapse onto my bed, I shiver as a sudden burst of cold air hits me. I sit up and search for the source and I find that my bedroom window is open. I get up to close it but then the realization hits me.
"Oh…so you're on the roof…"
I stick my head out and look up to the heavens, Cloud is standing directly above me, looking out over the city towards the old power plant…and Aerith's church. I lean against the sill, still staring up at him. I can't help but notice how perfect and angelic his features are in the moonlight. I find myself tracing the lines of his jaw, his lips, and his whole face with my eyes…
After a few minutes he looks down at me, his eyes glowing gently in the darkness. He smiles weakly and bends down, his hand extended.
I reach out and take it; suddenly I'm flying up to the roof, landing safely in Cloud arms. He sets me down and takes my hand again. We stand like this for several minutes, side by side, hand in hand, not speaking; just simply staring out over the city, content to be in each other's presence.
"What are we Cloud?"
He turns his head to look at me, his eyes sad, almost apologetic.
"What do you mean?"
"What are we? Are we just friends, are we together, what are we?"
He lets go of my hand and drops his gaze.
"Tifa…I…you know…I love you…right?"
"Yes of course…why?"
He lifts his eyes to mine again, and for a moment he just stares, his eyes betraying nothing, why does he have to be so hard to read?
"Because I need you to understand what I'm about to say…"
He rubs the back of his neck and heaves a deep sigh, his eyes never leaving mine.
"Tifa…I love you…I want to be with you…but I can't…"
"Why?" My voice is quiet, hurt. I knew he was going to something like this, but the rejection still stings.
"Bad things happen to me…I have enemies…if anything else happened to you because of me…"
"Else? What are you talking about?"
He tears his eyes away from mine and stares at out over the horizon. After a few painfully quiet minutes he looks over at me again, his face stricken. He slowly lifts his hand and grabs the zipper on the front of my shirt. He pulls it down gently, slowly exposing my torso to the cool night air.
He lifts his hand again and lays it on my shoulder, over the scar that Sephiroth gave me. He traces the scar down my chest, between my breasts, and finally stops on the far right side of my abdomen. I had forgotten how long the scar actually was, how close the wound had come to killing me…these thoughts dissipate quickly as Cloud runs his finger along the scars length again…to have him touch me like this…it's magical.
"This happened because of me."
He steps closer to me and lays his hands on my waist.
"I won't let anything like this happen again, I can't. If you get hurt again because of me…if you die…it would kill me Tifa, I couldn't live without you."
I can only stare at him; I'm too shocked for words. He actually loves me, truly cares for me. But the fact that he won't be with me because of something that might not happen, hurts.
"So that's your excuse for not being with me, something that may never happen?"
I push his hands off my waist and take a few steps away from him.
"I love you Cloud, I don't care if anything happens to me…"
"But I do, Tifa!"
His voice is rising to almost a yell and he begins to pace back and forth across the roof.
"Then you need to stop caring, Cloud! You've beaten yourself up enough about the past over the past two years, just let everything go!"
"How can I, Tifa?! Zack and Aerith are dead because of me, and you almost died along with them!"
"Zack and Aerith weren't your fault!"
I stand in front of him, halting his pacing.
"You couldn't have done anything to save Zack, and Aerith…Aerith knew what she was getting into…and as for me…I lived. You saved me…you kept your promise…you saved me."
I step closer to him and lay my hand on his chest.
"You need to let them go and start living your life. They're gone and I know you miss them, I miss them too. But what would they say to you right now?"
He's silent, obviously thinking about my question.
"Cloud, you said you loved me, you showed me that you love me on Christmas Eve…"
I reach down and take the locket in my hand and I hold it up so he can see.
"This is a wonderful gift Cloud, but when you told me that you loved me, when you let me kiss you…that was the greatest gift you could have given me. You gave me you love, please don't push mine away…"
He looks away from me; he's stays silent, the only sound I can hear is the soft whisper of the wind. When he doesn't say anything I shake my head and turn to walk away. I don't get any farther than a few steps before he catches my arm. I turn back to him and our eyes meet almost instantly. He pulls me closer and places a hand on the back of my head, tangling his fingers in my hair, and leans in closer.
He kisses me gently, tenderly, but with enough conviction and emotion to know he means it. When our kiss ends he wraps his arms around me, pulling me into his warm embrace. We stand like this for a long time, I nuzzle myself even closer to his chest, breathing deeply, taking in his scent and memorizing it.
"I've made a decision." His voice is quiet, careful.
"I've decided not to let my past control my future."
"That's good Cloud, what do you see in your future now that is now longer clouded by your past?"
He lets go of me and his hand flies to the back of his neck. His eyes drop to the ground and he clears his throat.
"The only thing I see in my future…the only thing I want in my future…is…you…Tifa."
He looks up at me, his intense blue eyes searching mine, pleading. Of all the things he could have said…I hadn't expected that.
He lays his hands on my waist again, pulls me against him and softly kisses my neck.
"Do you…want to be a part of my future, Tifa?"
I don't have to think of my answer, I've wanted him for so long…
"Yes Cloud, of course I do."
I lay my hands on his chest; I can hear his heart beating erratically, keeping perfect time with mine.
"Where do we go from here?" My voice is shaking from the cold and I begin to play with the zipper on the front of his shirt. I feel him slide a finger under my chin and tilt my face up to his. He's smiling, wider than I've ever seen.
"The only place left to go Tifa…is forward, one step at a time."
He pulls my lips against his and swings me up into his arms and begins to walk back towards the edge of the roof. He sets me back on my feet and reluctantly breaks our kiss. He looks down the side of the building to the open window below and then back to me. He holds out his hand to me, I take it and he lowers me down tot eh window. I climb back inside my room and he soon follows. In seconds I'm back in his arms, cradled tightly against his chest, his lips gently brushing against my forehead.
"I'm sorry Tifa…"
"What for, Cloud?"
"I'm sorry for everything I've done to hurt you, I should have been here for you more, and because of my weaknesses you have suffered, I hope you can forgive me."
I look directly into his eyes, they're pleading, maybe even begging me to understand. I simple smile at him, doesn't he realize that there's nothing to forgive? It's all in the past, what's done is done…but still, I can't help but wonder…
"Why did you leave Cloud…when you found out you had geostigma?"
His voice breaks and he looks away from me, trying to hind his face.
"Couldn't what Cloud?"
He sets me back down and turns away from me, his hand once again flying to the back his neck. He begins to stammer, his voice a barely audible whisper.
"I left because…I couldn't bear to let you watch me die, I love you to much to have let that happen."
I smile lightly and roll my eyes; of course he left for my sake. I can't help but realize that he's right; I would have watched him die, slowly but surely. I'm not sure if I would have been able to do that…
I walk forward slowly and lay what I hope is a comforting hand on his arm.
"You could have stayed Cloud, you don't always have to fight alone, why are you so afraid to let me in?"
"The reason I'm afraid to let you in is because I'm afraid to let my guard down. I'm afraid that that if you know all that I am, you won't feel the same…and I'm afraid that, once my barrier is defeated…and I'm comfortable, that you'll…walk away."
He turns to look at me, his eyes glistening, his mouth set in a thin line. I step even closer to him and lean against his chest. He wraps his arms around me and rests his head on top of mine.
"I'm not going anywhere Cloud, I promise."
He kisses the top of my head and is silent. I can feel his lips trail down to my ear, along my jaw and finally my neck. I gasp as untold feelings of pleasure course through my body, I still can't believe this is happening, the only man I've ever wanted to kiss me, to touch me, to love me…I'm finally his. I'm slightly aware that we're moving slowly to the bed and I'm suddenly in tune with him, I understand his intentions…my intentions.
I don't fight him; I want him to take me, to make me truly his. One thing is for sure, this is going to be a night to remember.
Alright, that's the end of On The Eve Of Love. I really hope you enjoyed it and please send me a review, I'd love to hear from you.