Chapter one: Where the Darkness Lies



Tifa stared out the window at the stars. They twinkled brightly, for young children "wishing upon" them. It made Tifa wish to be a child again, careless and free.

She ran her fingers through her dark mahogany-colored hair. She turned her ruby gaze from the stars to her feet that were placed on the windowsill. She pulled her knees up to her chest and hugged herself.

God, she thought, when was the last time I had someone I loved to hug me? I'm so sick of being so alone. Damn it, I should just leave and get it over with. Cloud doesn't want me. He still loves Aeris, not me. Aeris, not me.

Gosh, I can't believe it's been two years and he's just the same. I'm on the edge! I love him, but I can't wait forever. I have to be fair to him and to myself. It wouldn't be right. My presence is just hurting the both of us.

She suddenly had a terrifying idea. Cloud wanted her to leave. That must be it, she thought sadly. That explains why he rarely talks to me, why he doesn't notice me when I enter the room. I can't believe I haven't noticed before.

She hopped off the windowsill and quickly grabbed a piece of paper and a pen to write with.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Cloud slammed the door. Damn it, that was the fifth job he lost today.

"Why can't I do anything right?" he mumbled to himself

"Tifa" he called, "I'm home. Where are you? Why is it so dark in here?"

Cloud mentally slapped himself. She might be sleeping, he thought. That would be the only reason why the house seemed so dreary, so quiet, and so empty.

He quietly walked up the stairs, trying to shift his weight to his abdomen so the staircase wouldn't squeak. It didn't work.

Once Tifa heard him on the stairs, she hastily scribbled the rest of the letter and poured hot wax on as the seal. She took her fingernail and made a T symbol in the wax, hoping Cloud would figure out it was from her.

She opened her window quietly as he called her name from downstairs. She slipped through with half her body out. She grabbed her small travel bag with what few belongings she deemed important. She nimbly slipped out of the window and ran off into the night, not daring to stop until she was out of Kalm.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When Tifa finally stopped, she found herself in a dark, dreary forest. Perfect, she thought bitterly, I end up in a place where it feels the same as me. How ironic.

Tifa walked on the small path, barely visible to her eyes in the darkness. Shit, why didn't I bring a flashlight, she thought.

"You wouldn't have needed one anyway." A voice replied

Tifa whirled around, surprised and frightened. But it only lasted a second before she threw herself into fighting stance.

"Where are you and why are you following me?"

" My name is something for only me to know and as for following you, you actually followed me."

" What the hell are you talking about?"

" You followed where your mind told you to go. I was merely telling your mind where to take you."

Tifa's face was blotched with angry red blotches. She was definitely ready to kick this stranger's ass.

" You twisted bastard, where are you? Show your self, coward!" she screamed into the night.

The voice burst into a throaty laugh that seemed erupt all around her.

"Oh Tifa, you stupid girl. I thought you were smarter than that. As you can see, I'm not in true form. But your mind is the only AVALANCHE member's that was not content. I feed on misery and death. I eat fear for desert and drink blood as if it were wine. Believe me, dear, I will have fun playing with your gullible, unstable mind. I will make your life the living hell it really is. You will beg not to stay awake for the thoughts of me, and you will beg not to get to sleep because you will have dreams of me. You stupid girl. You're just like that failed experiment, thinking there's a purpose to everything. You're wrong, life's one-sided, black and white."

" I won't let you take me. I will fight to the death."

" I know you will. If you try to escape, you will be caused pain on your first attempt. On your second, you will black out. I have you in a double bind, Ms. Lockhart. Might as well give in now, my new test experiment."

" You're right. I'll need my strength to beat your ass when we get there." Tifa spat through gritted teeth.

" Oh, go ahead, girl." The voice said, " If you try to kill me as I reveal myself, you will not die, Cloud will."

Tifa gasped, she couldn't let Cloud die. Defeated, she hung her head low and waited for the being to step out.

When she heard the rustles of leaves behind her and a deep thunk on the ground, she slowly turned around.

The person she saw there smiled venom. He raised a hand in a triumphant wave, with a dark, cold look in his eyes.

Tifa didn't have to try to escape. She had already blacked out.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~A/N: Okay, I'm sick of only getting 5 reviews for stories I work hard on. I want at least 5 reviews before I continue. Please, be nice and review in that beautiful little box right down there!