A/N: After watching Advent Children one night, I was wondering what Cloud and his friends would do now that they rescued the children, defeated Sephiroth, along with his three remnants. I was thinking why not have Cloud at least try to live a somewhat normal life.
Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children or its characters. Hell, I wish I did.
Whoever thought that there could be so many battles in such little time? It's pretty funny when you think that you can't complete a certain task and in the end, someone you know proves you wrong, or maybe you might even proved yourself wrong. That's the way Cloud Strife felt. The young ex-Soldier went through so much hurt and pain for the past few years, he started to think that he couldn't hold on anymore, especially after the death of his best friend Zack Fair. Zack wasn't the only person Cloud lost; he also lost Zack's girlfriend, Aerith Gainsborough. The swordsman really thought he lost everything because he and Aerith were such good friends. Believe it or not, Cloud had thought about committing suicide. He really felt like everything was his fault that he thought what was the point for him to stay alive. Cloud thought he had no one else to turn to. That is until someone recognized the spiky-haired gentleman one day and told him that a young lady named Tifa Lockhart was worried about him.
From the moment he heard that name, he immediately started to remember her beautiful face, her sweet, warm smile and her long dark- brown hair. He often wondered if he would be able to see Tifa again. The swordsman remembered Tifa told him she was planning to move to Edge and start her business at the Seventh Heaven bar and work as a bartender. Now, the blonde-headed ex-Soldier knew it was his chance to go to the city of Edge and see his longtime best friend. As soon as he entered the bar, he was instantly welcomed with a gigantic hug from the Avalanche fighter.
They both later had a long, friendly conversation about how things change over the years. Cloud was so grateful to have someone so generous and who was willing to sit and listen to whatever he had to say. What was so surprising to Cloud was the bartender asked him if he could stay with her. The ex-Soldier knew he couldn't say no because this was the prefect time to start his life over to a fresh start.
My Favorite Soldier
It's been nearly a month since the young swordsman, Cloud Strife, rescued the children from the terrible trio, Kadaj, Loz and Yazoo. Anywhere he went to deliver packages to his customers, they've been greeting and thanking him for being such a hero to them and their children. Cloud liked the attention, but at the same time, he kind of wished that people would just treat him like a normal human being. After all, the ex-Soldier was the type of person who didn't really like to hang with a huge crowd. Cloud was just happy he had done a special deed, but really, he thought he shouldn't be the only person to be looked up to as a hero. His friends, Vincent, Barret, Cid and the others joined in to help him save the children in the city of Midgar. It wasn't an easy job, but it was well worth it. The difficult task had brought the spiky-blonde and his team together to conquer whatever it was that stood in their way. He never thought he would be able to accomplish his mission, but his own actions and friends proved him wrong. Cloud couldn't thank his friend enough, especially Tifa. He sometimes wondered what he could do to show the Avalanche fighter his appreciation for being there by his side even when he left her tons of time.
The first day of spring greeted the city of Edge with comfortable, warm temperatures, brightly-colored flowers blossoming in the fields, tall trees were coated with live, green leaves and citizens were enjoying this beautiful weather as if it was their very last day here on this planet. Twenty-one year old Cloud Strife most definitely enjoyed the season as the warm breeze touched his soft and virile face as he rode on his Fenrir motorcycle down the long, deserted road. He worked so hard all day without taking one single (well, except whenever he had to use the restroom, of course). Now he was anxious to get home. He wondered if Tifa had made dinner. Even if she didn't, he didn't mind; he wasn't really hungry. Of course until he arrived at Seventh Heaven around a quarter to seven that evening. With the engine still running, the delivery boy got off his motorcycle and approached the garage to open it. He climbed back on the Fenrir and slowly drove into the garage.
The smell of spaghetti, grilled chicken and macaroni and cheese immediately hit Cloud's perfectly shaped nose after he entered the kitchen. His stomach started to growl furiously as he walked further into the kitchen. Cloud wanted to hurry up and find that food so he could satisfy his uncontrollable cravings.
"Hey, my favorite soldier," said a familiar voice. Cloud immediately recognized that voice. He looked over to his right and saw a young woman preparing dinner behind the kitchen counter.
Favorite soldier…The spiky-haired fighter thought to himself. Hearing something like that come from Tifa really meant a lot to him. He never thought he would be someone's favorite. The bartender looked from the delicious food that was on a china plate and smiled at the handsome blonde. Cloud felt his stomach jump. He always loved to see Tifa smile.
"You came just in time for dinner," said Tifa, bringing Cloud's plate over to the dinner table.
"Thanks, Tifa. Let me wash my hands first."
"Okay. Oh, and while you add it, can you tell Marlene and Denzel that dinner's ready?"
"Okay," Cloud nodded and went upstairs. He walked down the hallway and he could hear some laughing and shouting coming from the children's bedroom over to his left.
He leaned his upper body to the right by the doorway and saw two kids sitting on Marlene's bed, playing a board game (since Denzel's bed was covered with comic books and toys). Cloud knocked on the side of the doorway three times. Marlene and Denzel jumped and quickly turned their heads and saw their best friend.
"Cloud!" they both shouted as they ran towards the ex-Soldier.
They were both jumping up and down while giving him a big hug around his waist. Cloud couldn't help but to laugh a little.
"Okay, okay, okay," Cloud patted the children's small backs, trying to calm them down from such excitement. "Let's go wash our hands. Dinner's ready."
"Okay!" the children beamed, racing out of their room
After washing his hands, the swordsman headed back downstairs to the kitchen. What he saw before him, made his mouth curve into a small grin. What the blonde saw was a beautiful, happy family at the dinner table. Well, perhaps not a happy family because Marlene and Denzel were yelling at each other, as usual. For whatever reason they could be fighting over, Cloud knew that Tifa could take care of situations when it came to the kids. She always knew how to discipline them and still keep that soft and sweet side of her at the same time. That's what Cloud always liked about Tifa. No matter what the situation was, good or bad, she knew how to stay calm and relaxed. Tifa warned the little munchkins that if they didn't settle down and eat, they wouldn't get any desserts, and even if they did settle down, it was too late; it was getting close to their bedtime.
It was a little after nine in the evening. Tifa had already told the kids to get ready for bed, and she was just finishing up with the dishes. Cloud took a ten minute shower. The warm water from the shower head felt so good hitting his perfectly toned body. He wanted to stay here forever, but he knew he would end up wasting a huge amount of water. Cloud peeped his head out of the shower curtains to see if his shampoo was anywhere near the bathroom sink.
The swordsman just realized he had planned on going to the store to buy himself some shampoo after he made deliveries today, but unfortunately, he forgot. Now what he was going to do? Cloud couldn't wash his head full of blonde hair with just water. There was only one thing left for him to do…Ask Tifa.
This is going to be embarrassing. Cloud thought. He never expected that it was going to come down to this. The ex-Soldier took a deep breath and carefully stepped out of the shower and dried his feet on the towel that was placed in front of the tub. Standing behind the door, Cloud pulled open the door just about three inches. He didn't know whether Tifa was still downstairs in the living room (Cloud helped Barret add the extra room just recently) or she was in her bedroom. It was completely quiet, he figured that the children were in bed fast asleep.
Cloud stuck his head out of the door and looked over to his right to see if the bartender was in her room. He couldn't tell; he could only see her lamp sitting on her nightstand table and her full sized bed was empty.
"Tifa," Cloud said, not quite in a whisper.
He waited for a response, but all he could hear was Denzel snoring softly across the hallway.
"Tifa," he said a little louder. Still, no response.
Boy, he hated to shout. He would probably wake up Marlene because she wasn't much of a heavy sleeper, but Denzel was. So Cloud had less to worry. He cleared his throat and tried again.
She should hear me now.
Three seconds later, the blonde heard some footsteps coming up the stairs. Tifa later showed up with a frown on her face.
"Cloud, the kids are asleep," she told Cloud firmly.
"I'm sorry," the delivery boy whispered. "I need to ask you something."
"What is it?"
"Do you mind if I could borrow your shampoo so I can wash my hair? I forgot to go to the store to buy some."
The frown slowly faded away when the martial artist tried her best not laugh at her best friend's awkwardness.
"What's funny?" Cloud asked, almost forgetting that he was standing behind the bathroom door naked.
"It's nothing." Tifa hated lying. "I'll be back with my shampoo." She tucked a strand of her brunette hair behind her left ear, smiled at the swordsman and walked over to the children's room to see if they were still sound asleep. Fortunately, they were. Tifa slowly closed the door and went to her room. Cloud stepped back from the door and slightly tilted his head back and exhaled sharply. Just seconds later, a small tap on the door startled him. He slightly opened the door and saw Tifa standing on the other side with a shampoo bottle in her hand. Without opening the door any further, the swordsman reached his right hand out of the door and took the shampoo.
"Thanks," he said awkwardly.
Cloud really hoped and prayed that Tifa did not see one single inch of his body, except for his head and neck, that is. Surely, he knew that there was nothing to be embarrassed about when it came to his body. Cloud usually worked out whenever he wasn't working, and plus, he had been living with Tifa for several months now.
So why should he feel awkward? Well, not only he had to use a woman's shampoo, but he also had to ask for it in his birthday suit. Cloud mentally cursed at himself for being such an embarrassment in front of Tifa. He just hoped she wouldn't tell anybody.
"Hey, there." Cloud lifted his head up from his pillow and saw Tifa standing by the doorway with that warm smile of hers.
"Hey," Cloud replied, pushing himself up into a sitting position on the bed.
"Can I come in?" Cloud motioned the bartender to come in. He swung his legs over to the side of the bed so Tifa could sit next to him.
"I've noticed that your light was still on and the door was still open, and I just thought you were still awake," the brunette explained, keeping her voice in a somewhat whisper so she wouldn't wake up the kids, since their room was right next door to Cloud's.
"Yeah, I was just trying to wait for my hair to get spiky again." Cloud ran his fingers through his soft hair. Apparently, one strand of hair at the top of the swordsman's head managed to stand up.
Tifa chuckled quietly and said, "Your hair is mysterious, Cloud."
"I guess," Cloud spoke softly, looking down at his bare feet. "And it has an unusual smell."
The bartender leaned over to smell Cloud's hair, her nose barely touching it. "Strawberries," she said, moving away. "One of my favorite scents."
"I've never had my hair smell like strawberries before," the blonde chuckled quietly.
The two adults started to laugh, but they almost forgot the children were asleep. There was a moment of silence for awhile, except for the crickets making beautiful music underneath the starry sky. Cloud didn't know he still had his window open, but he always enjoyed listening to the crickets.
"I think it's time for us to get some sleep," Tifa said, looking at Cloud's digital clock sitting on his nightstand table, which said 10:40. "Well, I'll see you in the morning, okay? Goodnight, Cloud."
"Night, Tifa," Cloud's bright blue eyes were locked on the twenty year old, watching her getting ready to walk out of the room. "Tifa?"
As usual, whenever he was nervous or frustrated, the ex-Soldier rubbed the back of his neck with his hand. He was extremely nervous when Tifa had her mahogany eyes in contact with his.
"I-I, um…" Cloud thought he sounded ridiculous when he struggled to get the words to escape from his lips. "I….have a question to ask you."
"Yes, Cloud?" Tifa had a worried look on her face as she approached back over to Cloud.
"It's not bad," the swordsman instantly added when he noticed the martial artist's expression.
"Thank heavens," Tifa sat back down on the bed with Cloud. "So, what is it?"
"Um, you know earlier when you called me your favorite soldier?"
"Why did you call me that?"
The bartender's eyes sparkled like stars and smiled. "Because you are my favorite soldier, Cloud. You know that. I mean, you may be an ex-Soldier, but you will always be the soldier to me."
With that last statement Tifa just said, made the corners of Cloud's mouth curve into a beautiful smile.
A/N: Well, that's the end of this chapter. I hope you all enjoyed it. I'm getting ready to work on my next chapter. It might take awhile. So please be patient with me. So if you like this chapter, please, please, PLEASE review!!!! Tell me what you thought about it, and if I had made any mistakes, let me know, but NO harsh criticism. I would be very happy if you review. Thanks! :D