Disclaimer: I do not own FF7 or FFAC. It's a shame…

Rating: M for language, violence, and fluff. (Gotta love the fluff.)

Author's Note: Redemption! Yes, finally got his procrastinating rear end to say it! Yay for finally admitting how he feels.


"'Tifa, I'm in love with you.'"

'Oh I get it, I'm still trapped underneath his damn bike and I'm hallucinating all of this aren't I?' Tifa mulled through her mind, her eyes unblinking.

"Tifa?" Cloud asked her, his own eyes wide with what he had just confessed. He was feeling weak and he didn't like when someone else had the upper hand. He had finally returned the ball to her court but wasn't receiving the reaction he had thought he would.

She continued to stare at him, her eyes distant and glassy until finally a broad grin fell over her face. She reached out and pinched him right by his wrist. Cloud recoiled from her and glared, "What the hell Tifa, why did you pinch me?"

"Because I wanted to see if I was dreaming."

"Then you pinch yourself!" He growled at her, shaking his wrist slightly. One thing was that Tifa definitely had a death grip on her. Cloud watched as she placed her fingers around a piece of her skin and applied a decent amount of pressure, enough to draw tears to her eyes as she let out a yelp.

'I'm not dreaming! He really said that!' Her eyes widened as she blinked multiple times, "Oh I get it. You're just saying that so I won't go out with Reno. First it was sex and now you're saying that because you know I want to hear it. Ha-ha, the joke is on Tifa!" She teased, let down resounding through her voice.

Cloud stared at her like she had just stabbed him right through the stomach, "Tifa, I'm not saying this because I don't want you to go on a date with Reno. I don't want you to go on a date with Reno but that has nothing to do with what I just said."

She waved her hand at him dismissively, "Oh please, I know how you work now, Cloud Strife. You figured that if you gave me what I wanted then I wouldn't go on a date with Reno and you could keep having your booty call."

"Tifa, what's wrong with you? You don't normally act like this."

The martial artist sighed, "Well you usually don't say things like that so-"

"You damn girl!" He hissed, pushing her against the back of the couch, gripping her upper arms in a vice-like grasp.

Her long hair fell into her face, her dark brown eyes quivering through the strands of black. His nose brushed against hers as his eyes bore themselves into her brown ones. "You are the most frustrating woman I have ever dealt with!" The ex-SOLDIER continued.

"You're the kind of woman that plagues a man's mind while he sleeps, the kind of woman that makes him wonder if he actually is the man he needs to be, a woman who has the face and smile that a man would gladly wage a war for. It's too much to take, but then it's too little to survive off of. It's maddening! You're maddening, and I can't get enough!" Cloud yelled at her, his eyes sealing with his internal agony.

Tifa stared at him like he had finally broken through a wall of stone, the pieces turning to rubble under his confession. Her heart thundered in her chest sporadically, a weight pressing into her body as she finally realized that he was being honest. This had nothing to do with Reno, Reno had only been a catalyst to Cloud's insight. This had nothing to do with Aeris; Aeris had merely been an obstacle to overcome. This had nothing to do with anything other than the idea, the concept, the act of, the sin of loving her.

His shoulders rose and fell with labored breaths, his head bowing with the release of his emotions. 'This is entirely too difficult, no wonder people die alone.'

"Say it again."

Cloud's eyes slowly opened to find that she was completely focused in on him. She blew the hair from her face as she waited for him to respond, her eyes determined.

His mako eyes flashed with that emotion again as he whispered against her lips, his eyes still wide as he looked at her, "I'm in love with you."

The pieces that had shattered not long ago seemed to mend together in that moment, pulling back together to form her beating organ again. Her head spun, the weight of his words finally registering in her mind. Tifa's face showed a wide spectrum of emotions, all of which Cloud could not pin point as one particular feeling. He put a few inches distance between his face and hers so that he could look at her better. His hands released her arms and fell down to rest at his side.

"You're in love with me, Tifa Lockhart? You aren't sleep walking again are you? Really in love with me? That's impossible, how can you love me?"

'She doesn't feel like she should be loved by me?' That tore at his heart strings, his face saddening, "Tifa, I'm not asleep. You're not asleep. I know who you are, you're Tifa Lockhart. My best friend since I can remember. The one who has helped me and saved my life more times than I care to admit, in the physical aspect of the word saved, and the spiritual aspect as well. I loved Aeris, yes, will I always have a fondness for her? Probably. But you Tifa, you are what I can't seem to shake from my core. She's a fleeting memory, a passing whim, but you, you're consuming. I don't know how I ever kept this to myself, but Tifa I'm in love with you. I have been since I laid eyes on you when we were kids."

He brought his eyes back up to her face to find her cheeks and eyes completely soaked with a salty liquid. Her lips were trembling with the torment of emotions finally being confirmed after all the wait. Her chest rose and fell unevenly as she attempted to breathe. Cloud glanced around to see if Denzel was around. He had promised that he wouldn't make Tifa cry anymore and here she was in a pool of her own tears. Thankfully, the brown haired boy was no where to be seen.

"Look at me."

The demand in her voice was evident as he turned his blue eyes back to her face, even through all the liquid she remained a picture of absolute beauty. And suddenly she giggled like a small girl with a crush. Cloud shifted uneasily. This brought on another giggle.

"What's so funny?"

"You are. You're doing that thing when you look confused and then you realize that I'm watching you so then you start moving around and begin to turn red. You've always done that, even when we were little. It's cute."

"Stop it," he grumbled, turning his face so that all she could see was his embarrassed profile. This earned him another round of giggles. Cloud nine wasn't the definition Tifa was looking for to explain how she felt but she didn't know how else to explain it. It was heavenly. Finally the moment she had dreamed of, fought for, nearly died for was here and she had lived to see it. She had been the one receiving it, no one else.

"Well then," Cloud said, clearing his throat, pushing himself to his feet. He brushed off his knees and headed for the door. 'Definitely not how I would have expected her to react.'

The blond warrior cleared his throat again, trying to remove the bulge he felt inside his neck as he made his way into the hallway, making his way towards the kitchen, his destination to reach and repair Fenrir.

"Cloud!"

He turned just in time to see Tifa attempt a run at him, her arms spread wide beside her. She lunged into his chest, shoving him hard against the wall. This earned a slight gasp of surprise from him this time, instead of her. She smiled brightly at him, her white teeth seeming to radiate happiness as well. His eyes busied themselves with the pearly whites for a moment before shifting back to look into her eyes.

She buried her fingers into the fabric of his shirt, her fists tugging him forward. Tifa leaned up on her tip toes and planted a kiss onto his lips. She moved them with a warmth and eagerness that he had never felt before in his life from any other woman. And he never wanted to feel it from any other woman other than her. His hands placed themselves around the small of her back, pressing her into him further as he deepened the kiss, taking from her the breath she was trying so hard to catch.

There was a set of three loud gasps, bringing to an end the passion that the two had finally earned after years of lusting for it. The two lovers turned their heads to find Yuffie and the kids staring at them like they had just seen a miracle transpire, "Um…" Yuffie breathed shakily, her own face red with her discovery.

Cloud shook his head, "Yuffie, could you please watch the kids tonight?"

Marlene and Denzel frowned, "How come?"

Tifa giggled as Cloud grabbed underneath both of her upper thighs, hoisting her upwards so that he was carrying her, her arms securing themselves around his neck. Cloud began his journey towards his room, Tifa grinning stupidly at Yuffie as they headed away from the other three, "Because Tifa and I need time to ourselves," he told the kids matter-of-factly. With that, he entered the room and kicked the door shut behind them.

Marlene and Denzel blinked, looking up at Yuffie, who appeared to be dancing with her excitement, "Cloud must have had a bad dream again," Marlene whispered.

Denzel shrugged, "Maybe. Did you see them kissing?"

Yuffie grinned, laughing stupidly, "I did! Isn't it great?!"

Marlene and Denzel both nodded, a fond expression in the older boy's eyes as he looked at Marlene. She returned the look, giving him a slight punch to his shoulder.

Yuffie took their hands and led them out of the house, humming a chipper song.

************

Tifa laughed, throwing a punch into Cloud's stomach playfully, "My first day of being fully conscious and you hog me all to yourself."

Cloud raised an eyebrow, setting her down on his bed lightly, "It may be wrong but I feel like being selfish today."

She nodded, "I do too."

His lips captured hers again, his tongue snaking into her mouth for more of her taste. Her body molded against his, her insides quaking with desire. Suddenly something came to her mind and she pulled away. She needed to try this.

"Cloud?"

"What Teef?" He asked her, his lips busy with the side of her neck.

"I love you."

She felt him smile against her skin, her heart fluttering in response, "I love you too, Tifa. I always have."

THE END


Thank you to everyone who has read and reviewed this story. And to everyone who has added this story to their favorites list, along with adding me to your favorites as well. I hope this story has done everything for you that it has for me. Don't worry though, I'll be back in a day or so with a new fan fic so keep your eyes open everyone. Thank you again everyone. I loved all of your ideas and praises. There will definitely be more CloudXTifa and FFVII/AC stories to come so keep looking. Keep checking my profile for updates.

With all my love,

~Nikki~