Yay! Last chapter everyone! Much thanks to:
cloudlover2989, vLuna, Yumi Reitenshi, linegenrou, mom calling, and Layla~!!

The first tear fell, sliding down her cheek. She shook her head, and more came. "My dad made me say that to you! He hated you for only God knows why, and I told him I was going to see you. I told him that I was going to tell you how I felt about you leaving, how I felt about you, and he wouldn't have any of it. He told me to say those . . . those awful things to you so that . . . so that . . ." She hung her head and collapsed onto the couch, both hands covering her face.

Cloud's brow furrowed. He didn't understand. Her . . . dad? So, she didn't mean anything she'd said that day? Ten years, and all this time he'd been so angry with her for apparently no reason? She didn't . . . have to say it. Okay, maybe she didn't. Her dad wouldn't know anyway would he? But, her dad was always manipulative. For the most part, Tifa could get away for being with him, but at others he nearly had her head.

And right now, her sobbing was killing him. He still cared, he always had, but before it had been partially masked by his anger and frustration. But that was before he knew that truth. Now, why wasn't he questioning this? Well . . . she wouldn't be sitting here bawling in front of him if he weren't. Tifa wasn't the type of person to show her weakness to anyone, for any reason. That much he still remembered.

Cloud gulped, pushing himself off of the counter and making his way to the sofa. Was this the payback he'd been wanting for the past decade? Someway to possibly hurt her, get her back for what she'd done to him? Sure, he had plenty of chances just in this one night, and he hadn't taken any of them. And now there was this, which was totally accidental. God did his life suck. I can't believe this. He was supposed to be angry! Not . . . not feeling bad for her. But she didn't mean it. She said it . . . and that hurt a lot. But she didn't mean it. That's the most important thing right? That Tifa didn't mean what she'd said. That she really did care about me, and that she really was my friend. Then Cloud remembered something she'd just said. Tell me what she felt . . . about me? What about me? By this time, he was standing by the arm of the sofa.

Two swift strides later, and he had settled very gently into the space next to her. For a moment she continued to sob, her body turned sideways toward Cloud with her head against the back of the sofa. Then, she looked up quickly and saw him sitting there, and shook her head before trying to turn around the other way. He wasn't going to let her do that. Pulling her into his lap, he sighed and lifted one hand to her chin, forcing her to look up at him. Tifa was . . . resistant, and shook her head again, hitting his chest with her fists to try and get away. Cloud grabbed both of her arms, making her stop and look at him. Her face, her cheeks were lined with tears, and for a brief moment he felt . . . guilty. Maybe he'd come on too strong? What was I supposed to do? How would I know it was her father who meant those things and not her? He didn't know how; he just knew that now he did. And he felt bad for maybe not . . . letting her explain? I'm confused. And his headache wasn't getting that much better either.

"Let me go," she whispered, looking down again. It was there, the hurt in her voice. The pain. She'd been feeling it too, for all this time. She . . . probably hurt more than he did, constantly feeling guilty, worried about the next time she saw him--if that even ever happened--and what would go on. He never thought that the next time he saw Tifa, it would end up with her on his lap.

Cloud shook his head, adjusting himself so that he let go on her arms and wrapped them instead around her waist, pulling her flush against him. She went completely rigid, and he didn't move, waiting for her to relax. She didn't understand why he was doing this; hell, he barely understood himself. We have to make up time. This was never how he imagined his relationship with her to flow, when they were little. He always thought they'd be together through everything, until the day his mother said they were moving. Even then, Cloud being the stupid teenager he was, he wondered if maybe, when they got older, they could meet again.


This time, it almost sounded like her voice was close to breaking for the second time. He gulped, not wanting to let her go--again. That happened once before, and for ten years he was never able to find her . . . not that he wanted to in the angry state of mind he was in. But a very small nagging part of him did.

He reluctantly did what she asked, snaking his arms from around her. For a quick second, she didn't register that he'd listened, because she was still sitting there. But she got up, and walked away from the sofa, past the arm and toward the wall that led down a hallway. He watched her rather closely, and an unexplainable urge crept over him. Cloud stood up and made his way over to her figure.

Tifa heard him stand, and turned around to ask him where exactly she was going to sleep, but only got half the question out before being pressed against the wall. Her eyes widened, her mouth slightly agape as she felt his lips on her throat. "Cl-cloud . . ." He took a firm hold on both of her wrists and brought them above her head. She tried to twist out of his grip, turning her head to the side, but he was too strong for her. Her voice broke into a sob, before she bit down on her lower lip to stop herself. No! Don't do it. "What are y-you doing?"

"You didn't mean . . . any of it?" he asked. His voice was soft, quiet, and she could feel his mouth move against her now boiling skin.

She gulped, sniffing. "No, I didn't. Cloud, I would never say anything like that to you." He sighed, raising his head to look at her, into her eyes and see if she was lying to him. She could tell that he knew she wasn't. For a moment he kept them in this position, his forehead falling gently forward and resting on hers, and she closed her eyes and let go of the deep breath she'd been holding in. He moved, lifting his chin slightly, and before she knew it, his lips had joined with her own.

He didn't let go of her wrists for a few seconds, and the kiss was gentle before he pulled away to look at her again. Tifa's eyes were wide with surprise, but he could tell that . . . that she'd been wanting that as much as he had. And he kissed her again, this time a bit rougher, showing more passion than he had at first. It stole the breath from her lungs, how much she now knew of his want for her. Years and years of it building, escalating until finally he was able to show her the way he wanted to. Of course, she was in the same situation.

Her wrists were let go soon enough, and her trembling hands went from above her head to his shirt. He felt her nimble fingers at work, undoing the buttons to get it loose and off of him. The material was still a bit wet from its earlier assault, and he smelled like strawberry she now noticed. Being this close to him, she was beginning to notice a lot of things. He pressed against her, and she gasped at the bulge she felt in his pants, breaking the kiss between him. Cloud gave her a lop-sided grin, his hands making their way to her hips and pulling the sweater up and over her head. She gulped, not knowing what seeing her almost topless would do to him. But as soon as the shirt was gone, his lips were back at her throat, kissing a path down to her shoulder.

Tifa shuddered, finally getting the buttons undone. He growled, pressing his body against hers more, if that were possible, the space between them almost completely void. She bit her lip, trying her hardest to keep from moaning out loud, although it came anyway from the back of her throat. He pushed the shirt off of him, never leaving her, and when it was off he raised his head and met her lips again. His hands cradled her face, and her arms wrapped around his neck for a brief moment, before Tifa pulled away.

"I-I can't," she whispered.

His hands slipped down to her waist, wrapping around her hips as he pulled her from against the wall and closer to him. His forehead lay against hers again, his eyes closed, and he asked huskily, "What do you mean?"

"I'm not . . . ready. I can't do that yet, Cloud." He sighed, his smile growing, and he let out a small chuckle. Tifa's brow furrowed. "What's funny?"

He shook his head slightly. "Nothing's funny Tifa. It's just that . . . well, it's nice to know I . . . would have been your first." Opening his eyes he continued, "Assuming you haven't . . . ?"

Tifa giggled. "No. I . . . haven't." Wrapping her arms around his neck again she said, "But, I can pretty much guarantee you'll be my first, Cloud." He raised a brow in question, pulling his forehead apart from hers. "Well, I mean, I've never felt more . . . right . . . with anyone. Even earlier tonight when you were angry with me, Cloud, I knew that was just because of what I'd said ten years ago. All the time I've known you, I've felt like this and--"

He silenced her with his lips, smiling on her mouth and pulling away again. "You're rambling. Something else I remember about you when we were younger--you do that when you get nervous." She giggled at him again. "I know we can't get ten years back, Tifa, but I'd like to make up the time somehow."

"How about I . . . I stay with you then?" She blinked. "Oh wait," Tifa lowered her gaze to the floor, "there's that Aerith girl."

Cloud scoffed, taking one hand and raising her chin. "No there's not. She broke up with me tonight, remember?"

Tifa nodded. "Yes, but maybe she was just angry." His eyes hardened slightly and he raised his brow again. "You don't . . . care?" He smiled. "Oh . . . well then I guess we don't have to worry about that!"

"You can still read me like a book, can't you?" Tifa nodded. Cloud smiled at her, his eyes trailing from her face down to her neck. Loosening his grip on her slightly, he looked down and saw the bra she was wearing. Sucking in a breath, it took everything in him not to rip the striped green material off. He could tell her intentions by her underwear, and tonight she wasn't looking for a mate. Not . . . expecting me, I guess. Cloud laughed at his thoughts, and before she could ask him what he was laughing about, he was kissing her again. Passionate, rough, those were words he would use to describe it, even though he wasn't trying to be. It was more like he was fighting with himself to not take her then and there.

One hand slipping further down, it curved around her rear, before lifting her leg up and around his waist. She bit his lower lip softly, before throwing her head back against the wall and letting a sigh escape past her lips. His other hand came up, his fingers getting tangled in her silky tresses. He knew that sex wasn't what she wanted to do at the moment. Or well, what she's not ready to do at the moment. But he was going to get as much out of tonight as he could without crossing the line. She wasn't protesting, so he figured he was in the clear.

Tifa wrapped her hands tighter around his neck, feeling his lips touch the base of her throat, moving down, down, down until he was biting the bridge of the bra. She bit her lip, looking at him, apprehension in her eyes. Is he going to . . . ? Yes, she really, really wanted him, but she didn't think that now was a good time for her. And yes, Tifa was well aware that Cloud respected her wishes, but she wasn't sure exactly what he was going to do about that, or to get around it. Letting go of the material, he started making his way back up, and she released the breath she'd been holding. Okay . . . that was close? She wasn't too sure anymore. It didn't take too long for her to stop having comprehensible thoughts altogether.

Cloud made his way back up to her neck, nibbling lightly on her skin and kissing the spots before moving on to another one. She's going to have a lot of suck marks in the morning, isn't she? He smiled at his little triumph, raising his lips to her ear and murmuring into it. What he said, he's not exactly sure, nor is she he supposed. Smelling her hair, then back down to her neck, he let out a deep breath. God she smells good. Almost like the flowers he remembered her mother growing.

Then she jumped, wrapping both legs around his waist. He growled into her skin, and her hands went to the sides of his face, redirecting his lips to his own. He pushed her back against the wall. She broke the kiss, yelping from the moderate discomfort she felt from the sudden assault, and he raised his head slightly to kiss her again. This was too much for him, but he had to control himself. From how . . . frantic she was getting, he could tell that it was becoming hard for her as well. But she wasn't making too sudden of movements, which told him that she wasn't just being silly early; Tifa really wasn't ready for what they both knew they wanted to do.

She thrust her hips against his softly, and he broke the kiss between them, panting slightly. Her head came down this time, laying small claims to his neck while he entangled his fingers in her hair once more, bringing it to his nose so that he could take in the simple pleasure that was her scent. His legs moved, he noted, but to where his mind couldn't consciously comprehend for some reason. There was a door down the hall that was already open, and Tifa had lifted her head to kiss him again. One hand was still in her hair, the other underneath her thigh to support her so she didn't fall. Cloud paused, no longer moving, breaking their kiss, before bending over and gently laying her down on what he could now see was his bed.

Climbing over her, he looked down at her to see if she was alright. Tifa's eyes sparkled in a way that Cloud had never . . . seen before, and he was sure the same was for her. She giggled as he embraced her neck with his lips one, two, three more times, before turning over and lying next to her. She immediately snuggled against him, burying her head into the crook of his neck as he sighed and wrapped one arm around his waist.

"Nothing at all?"

His question amused her slightly and she shook her head. "No," she whispered into his skin. He nodded, bringing her closer and wrapping his comforter around them both.

Laying a kiss on the top of her head, he sighed into her hair. "That's fine. I can wait." He felt her lips curve into a smile, and took her hand gently as she laid it across his stomach. Sleeping with his pants on after a . . . date, if he could call tonight that, was a new feat for him, but as he said before, he could wait for her. I've been waiting for ten years. A little longer won't hurt too much. Cloud sighed again. Well, this sure didn't end how he'd imagined, but that wasn't the point. "Tifa?" he whispered, but her deep breathing let him know that she had, already, drifted off to sleep. Must be tired . . . He smirked, knowing that mostly had to do with the last half of their night, which was fine.

His phone vibrated in his pocket. Tifa stirred, her hand slipping from his own and coming to the other side of his neck. Cloud shifted slightly so he wouldn't disturb her too much, and reached down for it. Flipping it open, the semi-darkness of his room was suddenly slightly brightened by the harsh light of his phone. His eyes squinting, he quickly read the text he'd received, before scoffing and throwing his phone across Tifa and onto the floor. Is she kidding me? Wants to make amends? Didn't mean what she said? Aerith always does that. No, he didn't want her back, that he was sure of. No . . . the woman I want, I now have. Looking down at Tifa again, he noted her breathing and was now very positive that she was indeed sleeping. I should do the same. That would be a good idea. Yawning, he held Tifa tighter and whispered, "I'm sorry I never told you this before but . . . but I--"

"I know." Cloud blinked. She was . . . awake? "Don't worry--" she yawned, "--about it." He wasn't sure what exactly she meant until she kissed his neck and murmured, "I love you too."

And with that, he was satisfied.

I'm so happy to have this done!
I hope everyone enjoyed that last chapter! Thank you again for reading!!