Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy VII or any of its characters. They belong to SquareEnix, who are, in my opinion, quite brilliant. And I am not.
Author's Note: This is my first fanfic and it just happens to be a Cloud/Tifa because I am more or less obsessed. I am open to constructive critisism and I really want to know what you think. So please read and review and enjoy! Oh and just so you know, I absolutely love CloTi this is just what happens when Cloud annoys me.
Final Fantasy and all related characters and themes, © Square Enix, Ltd.
Enough, © Vanilla Raindrops, 2009.
Enough was enough.
Tifa Lockhart had had enough of it all.
She was tired of her guilt, the burden she had to bear throughout the past few years. It wasn't always unbearable, however. There were moments in her life when this virus would burrow itself deep into her thoughts and she could almost forget that it was ever there. Those were the moments of true bliss, ones that would not last long enough for Tifa's liking. And as soon as her happiness would evaporate into nothingness, the guilt would come back, clawing its way out and bringing along the sadness and despair that only guilt could.
Tifa was also through with hope. For her it had always been that concrete concept that she thought she could always turn to. It was what kept her sane all these years, the last thing in the world that she was truly sure of. But now she was robbed of even that.
Nobody had hope anymore. They were somehow satisfied with living in this shattered world, without any will to make their surroundings better. Maybe they weren't really satisfied but they have for sure completely given up. No one gave a damn about what would happen to the Planet, the people, or Shinra anymore. No one. Well she wouldn't either.
She was through with hiding her emotions, an art that had been nearly perfected by Tifa. She was second only to Cloud whom she suspected to have invented the concept anyway. Hiding behind masks of happiness let Tifa escape from the reality. It helped her believe that things were not really as bad as they looked and that it would get better. She was like the support beam of her friends and family, encouraging them and filling them with false hope. But one beam could only support an entire bridge for so long. Tifa's time was up. Nobody could be happy for an entire group of people whose hopes and dreams have been shattered long ago..
But more than anything, Tifa Lockhart has had enough of Cloud Strife.
There were no longer words to describe what she felt towards him. Was it anger, resentment, hostility? Maybe it was more of sheer disappointment in all of his broken promises and pessimism. Maybe it was his almost eagerness to give up at first chance. Whatever it was however, Tifa could not stand it.
It would be easy to say that everything was his fault. It would probably even fill her temporarily with some fake contentment. But when that was over just like every other delight the barmaid had experienced in her life, misery would hit bigger than ever before because there would be an unavoidable awareness that Tifa had given up completely. She would lose faith in only person that she was sure could ever repair the damage that was the world. And she was one of the last people who had hope in him after all.
Still, it was not fair. He left whenever he felt like it and came back the same time. And this would just happen to be really early in the morning and really late in the night. Either way, Tifa rarely saw him anymore.
He filled her head with countless promises, ones that she was sure he would never be able to live up to. But for some reason she still believed him. She wasn't sure why, but she always had trusted him, even at times that her head told her that it was not possible to do whatever he said he would. Tifa always completely ignored her head and went with her heart whenever it came to Cloud though.
Now even her heart could not provide her with any means to justify his actions. He was the one who wanted this most. Cloud wanted to start a new life with Tifa. And this family was above and beyond anything he could've ever asked for. And now Marlene and Denzel and Tifa were always there for him, waiting. But even the three of them couldn't make this work on their own. Cloud understood that, he just didn't seem to care.
He promised to be back before sundown. Tifa's eyes automatically made their way to the clock opposite of her, much like they did numerous times in the past half hour. It had become something of a habit to look up at the timepiece whenever she thought of Cloud. It was now after midnight and he wasn't home. Again.
Really, the barmaid didn't understand how she had been so patient with him for so long because he had been pulling stunts like this for a long time. If she concentrated hard, Tifa could remember Cloud right after the Jenova incident. He was so happy, so optimistic. That was a moment of happiness so great that her guilt felt as though it had vanished completely. And it was like that for a long time. She was aware of her sins but she felt as though she had been forgiven. It was time to move one.
That notion felt so silly now. Sins would never be forgiven. She would be stuck knowing of her terrible past for the rest of her life, however long that would end up to be. And Tifa would be stuck in this never ending circle of momentary happiness and lasting depression.
Enough. She would have no more of this. Today she would confront Cloud once and for all and make everything clear to him. He had to choose: it was either her and the family or his despair.
A sudden horrifying though struck her. What if he would choose despair? What if he would take one look at Tifa, laugh and ask what made her think that he would want her in the place?
But, the martial artist realized, she would not fear the rejection anymore. If that was his choice, then was fine with her. She would never want the leftover pieces of a broken man anyway.
She clutched a pillow off the couch and she imagined the scene. He would walk in, hoping not to wake anyone up but she would be there with her hands on her hips, staring sternly at him. She wouldn't even let him slip in any excuses or explanations. She would tell him that she was over his attitude and his moping self. She hated the gloomy state that he had brought over her and she wanted out. Yes, she would admit, maybe she had loved him once, but she was tired of waiting for him to come home, tired of waiting for him to fulfill his promises, and tired of waiting for him to love her back. Then Tifa would just simply state the choices for him and await his answer.
And after that, depending on his answer, the next morning would be spend either planning out her bright future or crying in her room, even though she would never admit that to anyone else.
As if right on cue, Tifa heard the soft roar of an engine just outside the window. Despite herself, she recognized the sound instantly which only saddened her more because it meant that she had spend so many days and nights waiting for him that the sound of his bike was embedded in her head.
Tifa stood up in a trance-like state. It terrified her because she had wished for the courage to this for a long time now. But she was going to do it. She was going to give him the ultimatum and share with him whatever was left of her destroyed self. The rest was up to Cloud.
She heard the lock turn softly and took a deep breath before turning to face the door. Just like she expected, Cloud softly opened the door and stepped inside without making a single sounds. And then he looked up and saw her.
The cerulean eyes met the auburn ones and Tifa felt as though a jolt of electricity had entered her body. Her hands dropped from her hips and she stared at him with wide eyes like a love-struck teenager, afraid to break the eye contact. It was all she could do to keep her jaw from dropping.
"Tifa…" he began, looking away. Her mind went blank. The way he said her name showed all of the emotions he felt at that moment. She loved hearing him say it. He sounded so sincere, so sad, and so beautiful all at the same time. All traces of anger had already gone from Tifa's thoughts.
"I'm…sorry," he said, still looking away. The pause was meant for her to say something but Tifa was still mesmerized by that beautiful shade of blue that was his eyes and could not remember a single thing that she planned to say to him just moments ago. After realizing that she would not reply, he continued.
"I got caught up. The deliveries took longer than I expected." He said softly and dared to look up. Her eyes met his again and she caught her breath. "I am sorry." He said again and looked down. Tifa realized that she desperately needed to say something.
"I…It's fine Cloud. I was just…worried. Make sure to call next time, okay?" She didn't doubt that there would be a next time as she smiled and it felt so genuine that she almost convinced herself that she was really only worried and did not spend the last few hours contemplating on the couch. Almost.
He nodded. For the final time Cloud looked up and Tifa thought she saw the faintest trace of pink along his cheeks. A corner of his mouth lifted up so slightly that no one who did not know Cloud well would not notice. But Tifa noticed and it made her heart stop. She beamed back at him. It was one of those moments when she felt truly delighted and could forget all of her problems. Those were rare these days.
He was really disappointed to let her down. And even though he didn't say it out loud, she was sure that he was worried about her too. He must have been. That smile was reserved only for people whom Cloud really cared about. He really cared about her.
"Goodnight Tifa," Cloud said quietly and made his way up the stairs.
"Goodnight Cloud," Tifa whispered back. She didn't move an inch until she heard his door open and close again. Only then could she relax her entire body which had been so stiff and tense during the entire attempt at a conversation.
However, Tifa's happiness didn't last. In fact, it disappeared almost as soon as Cloud did. She soon fell empty and hopeless. She couldn't confront Cloud; instead he just made her weak in the knees. Sure he seemed genuinely satisfied but moments like that didn't last long with Cloud. Tomorrow he would disappear before Tifa woke up again without a word and she would stay up late into the night waiting for him.
If he broke one more promise or was late one more time she would do it for sure, though. She would confront him and give him a piece of her mind. And only a faint voice in the back of her head told her that she had made this promise to herself countless times before. But Tifa has long ago learned to keep the thoughts at the back of her head quiet.
It was a cycle Tifa Lockhart would never break because no matter how tired she was of the man, she was still hopelessly in love with him. She would stick with him through the good and the bad, even if he never asked for it or was thankful. He was like a drug to her, for she was never fully satisfied until he was there. And when he would leave she would feel empty all over again. But to look into his eyes and hear him say her name the way he did was all worth it.
Enough was enough.
Too bad Tifa Lockhart would never have enough of Cloud Strife.