Hello, I'm CLOUDxTIFAforever, and welcome to "Fear Is The Heart Of Love".

Summery:This is just a simple oneshot that I've been working on in study hall, occurs sometime after AC, but I'm not really sure when.

Author's Note:This story flashes back to the day the geostigma was cured, the italics are the flashback.

Disclaimer: I have been writing for these characters for almost a year and I have to say it's been an enjoyable experience. But I do not own them in any way, shape or form, just my plot scheme.

Song Playing:Shadow Of The Day ~ Linkin Park

Fear Is The Heart Of Love (Cloud's View)

The road's a straight and narrow path, keeping me en route to my destination. The road's a useful tool when you have a job like mine, but I despise it, I wish it would just disappear, just so I could return to her.

The fields, they're always there, constant, seemingly endless, brown and continuously beaten down upon on by the sun's rays. Yet they teem with life, but I find it hard to enjoy without her beside me.

The sky's a vast expanse of blue and white, spreading out over the horizon and almost seeming to swallow the road where the earth meets the sky. It can be very distracting, because I always see her face etched amongst the clouds.

All the wonders of nature and of life are spread out before me, untamed and pure, a paradise untouched by man, left alone and possibly forgotten.

To see this side of the world is just one of the perks of running a delivery service, but it also has its downfalls, seeing as deliveries can take hours, even days to complete. It takes me away from the people I love, my family, and as broken as we may be, it is what I have come to consider them…and what they have come to consider me. Why they have accepted me into the "family" I may never understand, I've left them, pushed them away…all for a guilty conscience.

But since Sephiroth was defeated again, and the planet rid of Jenova's stain, everything seems better. And knowing that I've helped to rid the planet of them both has helped to ease my feelings of guilt, relieving me of my usually dark mood.

The only person to realize a change in my sulky behavior was Tifa; the night the geostigma was cured…the events of that night are still clear in my mind, as though they happened only yesterday.

After the cured had gone home and celebrations and quieted down, I returned to the church, silently thanking whatever gods may exist.

"You don't have to stay here, you know."

Her sudden and soft spoken words make me jump; I slowly turn around to face her, trying to regain my composure.

"I…I was going to go back ho…to the bar. But I just…needed some time to think…"

"What about?"

She walks a little closer to me and I my heart begin to beat faster.

"Today…Sephiroth, the stigma…us…"

An inquisitive look crosses her face but she remains silent, waiting for me to finish the thought.

"I'm so confused as to how Sephiroth returned…how can something so evil be allowed to come back from the dead?"

"I'm not sure Cloud; maybe some evils can never be truly defeated."

Her voice is quiet, maybe even unsure, but she smiles lightly and moves even closer to me, close enough to touch.

"As for the stigma Cloud, it's cured, there's nothing left to worry about."

Her voice is soft, consoling, and the reassuring smile blessing her face…she's so beautiful.

"What were you talking about when you said 'us'?"

I hesitate with my answer, I've been thinking about asking her on a date for so long, thought of telling her my true feelings…

"Tifa…I'm done running away…I…I've come to realize that I can only handle some things by myself…for the rest I need the help of others…from my family…"

"What are you trying to say, Cloud?"

"I…I want to come home, Tifa."

Our eyes meet and for a moment it seems as though the world has stopped.

"Is it alright if I come back?"

A single tear falls down her cheek before she throws her arms around me. The unexpected hug seems to set every single one of my nerves on fire, and before I know it, I'm returning the embrace. We stand like this for several seconds, unmoving and silent. When she let's go of me I find myself missing the connection, leaving me wanting more than a simple hug.

"I'm going to take that as a yes."

I let out an awkward laugh and rub the back of my neck.

"So…I'll see you at home?"

"Yeah, Cloud…I guess you will."

She nods her head slightly then turns and walks back towards the door, but after only a few steps she turns back to me, and just stands there awkwardly.

"Cloud…there's something I need to tell you…I probably should have told you a long time ago…"

"What's that?"

She walks forward slowly, her eyes locked with mine the whole time.

"I've wanted to tell you this for so long…but I've never found the right time…the right words to say it…"

She closes her eyes and takes in a deep, cleansing breath, and when she opens her eyes again, they're blazing, determined.

"I love you, Cloud."

The power and conviction in those words is enough to make my jaw drop slightly. This can't be real, after all the years that I've secretly loved her, obsessed over her, convinced she would never feel the same…she feels the same for me. What's makes it even more unbelievable is how she can even remotely love me after all the times I've left her, pushed her away…she still loves me.

My prolonged silence seems to make her nervous and unsure of herself, a side I've never seen of Tifa.

"Cloud…if you don't feel the same…I guess…I understand…"

There are a few more moments of silence, I still can't find words.

"Please say something."

"I don't get it. After all the times I've left you, let you down and pushed you away…how can you still feel this way for me? You should have given up on me a long time ago Tifa…"

"You should never give up on someone if you can't go a day without thinking about them."

Her eyes fall to the floor and she walks right up to me, she takes my hand in hers and squeezes it tightly.

"Tifa…I love you too…but I can't always be here…"

"Why does that matter? I loved you before you left for Soldier, and while you were gone those feelings only intensified, and I still loved you when we were reunited years later. Cloud…time, distance…they mean nothing when it comes to love…can you honestly say the reason we can't be together is because you'll have to leave sometimes?

I want to answer yes so badly, but I have other reasons for saying no to her, so many things have happened to me, bad things. People that I care for…that I love…they get hurt.

"Tifa…I love you so much, but I'm afraid…

"Fear is the heart of love." (A/N)

She's right. Love centers around common fears, heartbreak, losing the one you love…even a fear of love itself…

Before I know it I'm kissing her, I lay my hands on her waist and pull her body against mine. Her arms snake around my neck as the passion of the kiss grows in intensity…

The memory ends as I pull up to the 7th Heaven Bar. I cut the Fenrir's engine, slide off the bike and stretch. After about a minute I hear the front door slam open, along with it comes Denzel's and Marlene's peals of laughter. They run forward to welcome me home and begin to tell me everything that happened at school that day.

But I only hear them vaguely; my attention is diverted to the dark haired women standing in the doorway. When our eyes meet she leans against the frame and smiles, resting on hand on her rounding stomach. I rush forward and lay my hand over hers, feeling the steady heartbeat of the small and precious life growing there.

I rub my thumb over her wedding ring and smile, realizing how lucky I am to have her love.

What'd you think? Reviews are GREATLY appreciated!!! I want your praise AND your criticism!!!

(A/N): This line and the title of the story come from some lyrics of Death Cab For Cutie's "I Will Follow You Into The Dark".