Hello, and welcome to the re-write of Chasing The Moon. I decided to re-write this story because some of my reviewers thought the ending to be unsatisfactory. So here it is, the re-write. Finally...
*A Note To Any Previous Reviewers*- I deleted the original version of this story, meaning the reviews you submitted are no longer logged with the story, please be sure to review again!
Author's Note:I'm dedicating this story to my BFF Rachel, who is seriously my muse and gave me the idea for the story. We were standing in my driveway one night, staring at the moon which had turned a freaky orange color. After a while she turned to me and said "Rochelle, (that's my real name) let's chase the moon." We never did actually chase the moon, but that simple sentence did spawn a 2800+ word one-shot...
Disclaimer:I don't own FFVII. Though, there are times that I really wish I did...
P.S. - This story is also loosely based on Start Again ~ RED.
And I remember everything, everything I loved. I gave it away, like it wasn't enough. All the words I said, and all you forgive, how could I hurt you again? What if I let you in, what if I make it right? What if I give it up, what if I want to try? What if you take a chance, what if I learn to love? What if...what if we start again? - Start Again ~ RED
Chasing The Moon
It had been one of those days, the kind where nothing seems to go right. I just seemed to be so distracted today, unfocused. I was late to almost half of my deliveries, and had nearly wrecked the Fenrir…all because I can't get her out of my head…
It's been getting harder get through the days, she's always there, her face, her eyes…everything about her consumes my every thought.
She's all I think about as I drive through the now deserted streets of Edge, the only sound is the loud roar of Fenrir's engine bouncing on the surrounding buildings. The city is oddly peaceful at night, especially at this time, when all the shops are closed and the only light is the sickly orange glow of the streetlamps.
As I round the next corner 7th Heaven comes into view, its neon sign dark because of the late hour. Once I park the Fenrir, I dismount and stand out in front of the bar, my eyes wandering towards the sky, and I'm surprised by what I find there.
I can see the stars, a rare sight when you live in place like Edge. The city lights usually take away from the stars, drowning them out, sometimes making them impossible to see. It's moments like this that make me long for Nibelheim, despite all of the horrible things that happened there. I remember everything about that place, about my childhood, about everything I had loved…
A small movement in my peripheral vision tears my gaze away from the stars, and draws it to the roof of 7th Heaven, where a lone figure sits, her legs dangling over the edge, and her hair gently moving with the calm night breeze.
"Tifa? How long have you been watching me?" I ask, stuttering slightly, rubbing the back of my neck.
"Since you pulled up." she replies, pulling her knees to her chest and wrapping her arms around her shins. "What were you thinking about just now?"
"The past, I guess." I say after a moment, laughing to myself. "What are you doing up there anyway?"
"Nothing really. I didn't have anything to do, Barret came and got the kids for the weekend…and since it's so nice out here…I just thought I'd come up here and look at the stars…I needed to clear my head anyway…"
"Can I ask what you were thinking about?"
"You could." she says, smiling playfully. "But I'm not going to tell you."
I can feel the corner of my mouth lift up in one of my signature half smiles, and I take my hand away from my neck, dropping it loosely down at my side. After a moment I jump up to the roof and join her, an easy feat with all of the training I've had…the mako infusions…
I sit down next to her, my legs hanging over the edge, hands planted firmly on the rooftop.
"What were you thinking about?" I ask again.
"Nothing." she says firmly, shaking her head.
"Come on; tell me, I told you what I was thinking about. And you have to admit, that's a huge step for me."
"It is." she laughs, resting her chin on her knees.
"But you're still not going to tell me?"
"Exactly." she sighs.
I reach out quickly and grab her side, the only spot where she's ticklish. I can hear her breathe in sharply, and one of her hands flies down and clamps onto my wrist.
"Cloud, stop it!" she pleads, trying to contain her laughter.
"Not until you tell me!"
I ignore her pleas; instead I use my free hand to reach around her slender form to grab her other side. She falls against me, trying to fight me off, but to no avail. We fall back, laughing in unison until she finally manages to grab hold of my hands and pin them above my head. She kneels over me, her face flushed, her breathing ragged, her face only inches from my own.
"I guess you win." I say, breathing heavily.
"Yeah…" she whispers.
We stay like this for several seconds, simply staring at each other, her hair gently brushing against my face. Both of us are unable to move, to pull away. I can barely breathe, can barely think, I can only focus on her, the deep color of her eyes, the scent and feel of her skin…
She pushes herself away from me suddenly, gets to her feet, and walks to the opposite end of the roof. She stands there motionless, gazing up at the moon, her arms crossed over her chest. I stand up slowly, watching her carefully. The world seems to stop, there's no breeze, no sound, only us, here, standing in an all too familiar and awkward silence.
"I'm sorry." I say finally, moving to stand next to her.
"Sorry for what, Cloud?" she asks, her voice breaking.
"I didn't mean to upset you…"
"You didn't." she says quietly. "You just…got me thinking again."
Another silence, this one even more tense and weighted than the last. I glance over at her, just in time to see a shimmering tear slide slowly down her cheek.
"I've been thinking about chasing the moon, Cloud, chasing dreams. I have dreams, dreams for myself, for Denzel and Marlene…for us. Maybe they're more like wishes, wishes that may seem crazy and far fetched…wishes that may never be granted…but are still worth asking for…still worth chasing after even though I may never catch them…"
She turns to me and falls against my chest, and I wrap my arms around her almost out of instinct. She doesn't cry, she doesn't speak, she just leans against me, breathing softly against my chest. I hadn't realized that she was still hurting, still suffering from what I had done to her. I knew that I had hurt her when I left, and even year after I had come home, it's a mistake that still haunts me.
"Come on, let's go." I say quickly, taking her by the hand and leading her back toward the front of the bar.
"Where are we going?" she asks, her voice barely audible.
"I don't know yet…" I say just before I pull her against me and walk over the edge of the roof, landing on the sidewalk below.
"What are we doing?" she asks frantically as I practically throw her onto the back of the Fenrir and climb on in front of her.
"Chasing the moon."
The ride out of Edge goes smoothly. The barren wasteland surrounding the city is calm, not very surprising considering that the dead soil can't support any kind of life, therefore there is little monster activity. At first, I stay off of the crude roads, literally following the moon, and soon the wasteland falls away, giving way to trees, grass and wildlife.
I finally get on the road when the terrain becomes too rugged for even the Fenrir to navigate safely. I race down the winding road, admiring the world around me.
I've traveled this way before, but never took the time to realize the wonders that surrounded me, how much I was actually missing. Maybe having Tifa with me is the reason I'm suddenly so attuned to the life taking place around me, even in the dead of night.
If Tifa has taught me anything, it's to appreciate everything that you have, something I've failed at, especially when it comes to her. Of everyone who's come into my life, I've hurt her the most, treated her in a way that she doesn't deserve, and given her every reason to walk out of my life and never come back, but she's always forgiven me, and always allowed us to start over…
That's one of the reasons that I decided to go back to 7th Heaven after I was cured of my Geostigma, after Sephiroth was defeated once again. I didn't want to continue hurting her, I wanted to move on, Aerith wanted me to move on, to let go of my guilt over not being able to save her…to save Zack…
The other reason…I'm in love with her; I always have been, ever since we were kids growing up together in Nibelheim. I need to make things right with her…I need to tell her that I love her…
Before long it seems as though the moon is directly above us, and I gently slow the bike to a complete stop and cut the engine. The silence of the night crashes down on us in the absence of the engine's dull roar. Tifa slowly lifts her head away from my back, where her face was buried for the majority of the ride, trying to protect herself from the assaulting winds.
"Where are we?" she asks tiredly as we dismount.
"I'm not quite sure." I answer as I pop open a hidden compartment and pull out a couple blankets that I keep stored there. "Come here."
I lead her off the road into an empty field of waist-high grass. After a short trek I bend back some of the grass to form a sort of semi-circle, lay the blankets down and I sit down, pulling Tifa with me.
We stare up at the sky for several minutes, neither of us knowing what to say, what to do, until Tifa leans her head against my shoulder and exhales deeply.
"Tifa…there's something I have to tell you…"
She lifts her head away from my shoulder and breathes in deeply, her eyes focused somewhere off in the distance.
"What is it?" she whispers, her words razor sharp.
"I…don't know how to say…"
"You're leaving again, aren't you?" she cuts in, her eyes finding mine.
"Tifa…I…" I stammer, surprised by her sudden anger.
"I should've known. How could have I have been so stupid to let myself think that you had changed?" she practically yells as she gets to her feet. She begins walking back to the road, the tall grass swaying as she moves through it.
"I love you." I call after her as I stand up as well, my voice low.
She stops suddenly, only halfway between me and the Fenrir. She doesn't turn; she just stays there, motionless, listening intently.
"I know you love me too, that's what you meant when you said you had dreams for us, right? Dreams of us together, living with Denzel and Marlene like a real family? I want that too, Tifa, I want us to be together. I know it's taken me a long time to realize it, to realize that you're all I need in this world…"
"Why should I believe you? I know that you've changed; I can't deny that, I can see it in your eyes, the Cloud I knew all those years ago. But that doesn't change what you've done…"
"I know. Tifa, when I left I was suffering, I felt so…so empty. I made a mistake thinking that I could fill that emptiness with anything else but you and your love, and not a day goes by that I don't wish that I could take it all back. We've both had time to heal, Tifa, let me make things right. Give me one last chance to start again…give me one last chance to make you happy." I say, walking toward her, my hand outstretched.
"Let me in, Tifa." I plead, taking her hands in mine and squeezing them gently. "I don't want to hurt you anymore. Please take a chance with me, please be mine, because without you all I feel is pain."
She stares at me for a long moment, tears forming at the corners of her eyes. She pulls her hands away from mine and places one lightly one my cheek, sending a chill of exhilaration through my body. Her hands find mine again, and she smiles lightly.
"What else is there to say but yes, because I couldn't deny you even if I wanted to. Loving you has become a second nature, because I can't remember a time when I didn't love you." The tears finally fall, gleaming like diamonds in the moonlight, and falling lightly onto our entwined hands.
"I can't either, Tifa." I say, smiling widely, moving closer to her.
She meets me halfway, her lips finding mine and closing that infinitesimal gap between being the best of friends and the best of lovers.
I can feel every remaining barrier between us suddenly fall away, allowing everything that we've ever felt for each other to pass through, and allowing every ounce of love and longing to consume us in their fiery embrace.
I become lost in our kiss, lost in everything about her, her scent…the way she feels under the touch of my now wandering hands. She becomes the world, the universe, there is no more pain, no more uncertainty…there is only her. She's like a rock, a solid foundation in the storm of life, and the only thing that can keep me from simply drifting away into some dark and dismal abyss.
The kiss seems to end almost as soon as it began. We pull away from each other slowly and reluctantly, our gazes locking within seconds. She looks so beautiful in the moonlight, her eyes catching and reflecting the moon's light as well as the star's, creating a thousand new points of light in the red-brown orbs, and mirroring the night sky.
As I continue to stare into their depths, I begin to see so much more than light reflected there. My future is there as well, our future together…all that we could share and all that we could be…held there within her eyes…
She falters after a few moments, shifting her weight uncomfortably and clearing her throat awkwardly, her gaze falling away from mine.
"Hey, where are you at?" she asks, laughing lightly.
"I don't know." I reply quietly. "Nowhere…yet everywhere at the same time…the past, the present and the future…"
"The future?" she cuts in, raising her eyebrows slightly.
"Our future." I answer, placing my hand gently against her cheek. "Tifa, I don't want to take one more step toward tomorrow without you walking beside me, as best friends or as a couple. I don't know what the future will bring, the happiness or horrors in may hold, but I do know that I want you to face them with me."
"I will follow you anywhere, Cloud." she says, kissing me softly. "Into the future, into the wilderness to chase the moon, into our life together. But, maybe you should follow me back to the Fenrir, it's getting late and I'm freezing."
I smile widely as she takes my hand and pulls me back in the direction of the road, her fingers tightly entwined with mine. A newfound feeling begins to descend over me, one that feels alien and almost otherworldly, one that causes my heart to swell. Love and happiness, two emotions that had escaped me for so long because my guilt and darkness had not allowed them a place in my heart, they had consumed every dark and distant corner of my soul, had kept me from her for so long.
Maybe the suffering they had caused were a form of atonement, a penance for whatever grievous sins I had committed, keeping me from being truly happy…keeping me from her. But the light of her love has lifted that darkness, and has lit those dark corners, filling them with the light of her love.
There was once a time when I had thought that my heart had gone cold forever, silenced until I could find my redemption. And now that our love has been confessed, now that we're together I can feel it beating once again. Her love, and our love for each other is my redemption.
We reach the road just as the sun emerges from beyond the horizon, bathing us in its warm rays. I waste no time in clamoring onto the Fenrir and Tifa follows suit soon after. She wraps her arms around me, and gives me a gentle squeeze as she kisses me softly on the neck, just below my ear.
"Thank-you." she breathes.
"For what?" I ask, leaning forward to grasp the handlebars.
"For allowing me to chase the moon and helping me to finally catch the dreams I've been chasing for so long."
"You're welcome." I reply, laughing lightly and kicking the engine into life.
We're flying down the road back to Edge seconds later, riding off over the horizon and into the early morning sun…into new dreams…into our future.
Amor vincit omnia
- Love conquers all.
Well, how was it? I'm not too happy with the ending, I think I screwed it up again. But maybe not. Either way, I won't be editing this story for a while, I still have to finish Throwing Punches and a few other projects I've been working on.
Speaking of Throwing Punches, I had a minor setback with it and that's why its taken so long for me to update it. I had to re-write most of chapter 4, I kept messing it up. But the good news is it shouldn't be too much longer before I get chapter 4 posted.
I hope you enjoyed Chasing The Moon, be sure to review and maybe even read my other stories. God bless.