A/N: Chap 77.
LTS: "It seems it was yesterday when I started this story..."
Cloud: "It's been more than six months."
LTS: "I know, just like in the timeline. Isn't that just a marvelous coincidence?"
Zack: "No, it means you've been slacking and not writing fast enough."
LTS: "... Leave me alone."
Tifa: "Disclaimer: LadyTeefStrife doesn't own anything. It's alright, 77 chapters in six months is a good thing."
LTS: "Thanks Teef..."
Title: Beginnings, again.
Before she could turn around, the window Tifa had been staring out of suddenly opened, startling the girl. As her eyes widened by the unexpected movement, she felt someone yank her by her arm and pull her up and out of the window. Before she realised what was happening, she was on her knees on the roof of her own house.
Staying on her four limbs to keep her balance, Tifa looked around in a panic, wondering what had just happened. Not seeing anything as she clutched her roof tightly, she relaxed her grip and leaned back into a sitting position so she could get a better view of her roof. She kept glancing around until she spotted long, blond hair.
As Sephiroth took off the last piece of his uniform, he asked himself again why he had agreed to go to the same private college as Loz and Yazoo. They kept idolizing him, making his student life all the more difficult. He just wanted to get over with his studies, find a job he could tolerate and would let him live a simple life. He didn't need a mass of people calling his name behind him.
The silver haired man looked through the window of his bathroom. Midgar was everything he expected. Grey, depressing, and he was just getting used to the heavily polluted air of the city after two months of living there already.
With a sigh, he stepped in the shower, hoping the water and his special shampoo could get rid of the almost toxic smell in his hair.
As he knocked on his friend's bedroom door, Cloud prayed for all that was holy that the expected punch wouldn't be too hard. But as the door finally opened and the blond finished explaining himself to a very sleepy Zack, he just hoped that at least the dark-haired boy wouldn't hate him for the rest of his life.
After a lot of Zack's yelling later, Cloud slid down the wall of the corridor, sitting on the floor and asked with a pleading tone. "... What can I do?" Zack's eyes widened and turned to the blond.
They sat in silence until Zack slid to the floor too, resting his head against the wall behind him. "If you want to do the right thing… you should tell Tifa as soon as possible." He could just imagine how Tifa would dismiss it, say that she's fine, smile and make everyone believe everything was okay before going to her room to cry herself to sleep. "After that... we'll work something out."
Preparing themselves to go to sleep in their respective homes, Vincent and Yuffie laid down in their beds, the time difference between Wutai and Nibelheim made them remember that the new school year was about to start for their friends while they still had a few more hours of sleep.
Vincent turned around, his now shorter hair falling in front of his face. The haircut had been useful. His first few days sightseeing and cave exploring had left him much more tired than he would have thought possible, but not having to worry about his hair getting in the way was always useful.
His eyes fell on the large bandana his girlfriend had given him and a smirk appeared on his lips. He wouldn't cut his hair again. After all, now he had something to keep it in place with.
In her bed, Yuffie lied facedown, fidgeting with the sheets. She wondered how Aerith was doing. She seemed okay when they last saw each other, and every time they talked on the phone, she seemed happy, but the short girl knew better than that.
The green-eyed girl finished fixing her hairstyle and looked at herself in the mirror of her room. She could almost see her hyper friend behind her, jumping around her room, all excited to finally be in her last year of school, the thought made her feel nostalgic.
She missed her. They had been together for as long as she could remember. Yuffie and Aerith, wherever one was, the other always was nearby.
"But... life changes." Aerith said to herself while grabbing her backpack, ready to leave for her first day in her last year as a student in Nibelheim's high school. "And we have to move forward..." She stopped a moment, her eyes falling on a picture of her first day in her first year in that same school. Grabbing it quickly and stuffing it in her bag, she exited her house. "But we shouldn't forget those who are left behind." She said with a bright smile.
Loz and Yazoo counted the minutes. Soon the new school year would start in Nibelheim and they wished they could be there to see for themselves what would happen at that moment.
They had been building up this moment since they first saw Tifa.
Knowing Hojo, and who she was, they knew they could accomplish the final part of their beloved uncle's last wish.
"How was it?" Lazard's voice sounded from the speaker of Yazoo's phone, asking how the first day of college was for his sons.
As much as they wanted to see the 'grand finale' by themselves, they had other things to focus on now.
Cissnei turned around in her seat. It felt strange to not have her brothers around. Genesis had decided to stay in Nibelheim for this last year and then he would go to Modeoheim to pursue his studies and live there. Reno still had another year ahead until he could leave Nibelheim too. And she...
She had decided to go to Junon.
At first her parents had encouraged her to study in Midgar, or even in Modeoheim so she could keep an eye on her brother the next year. But she wasn't like him. While he enjoyed the knowledge attainable at Modeoheim, she enjoyed the discipline taught at Junon. So after hearing about the university where her father got his piloting and mechanical engineering degrees, she had made up her mind where she wanted to go.
Even if the university wasn't the best, the military area that covered most of the city was perfect for her.
She turned back towards the blackboard where Master Sergeant Tseng and First Sergeant Rude where introducing themselves and the basic concepts they would have to follow.
Cid almost had a heart attack when his only daughter told him she wanted to attend that military academy. Probably, if it wasn't for Shera and how well she understood her daughter, he wouldn't have ever allowed her to go to Junon.
As it was, the old chain-smoker approved her decision, and even introduced her to some of the higher commanders of the nearby base and to some of his old teachers.
Cissnei's eyes glanced to the right, where Second Sergeant Elena was trying to turn on the projector and blinding her superiors with it, the mishap made Cissnei smile.
Angeal left his house, still trying to get used to not waking up to Tifa's carefully prepared breakfast and with only a cup of cold coffee in his stomach, as it had been for the last three months since he had left that house.
At least he would see his temporary family back at school, even if it would only be as their teacher now. But in the end, that's how it should be. He was sure Tifa, Zack, and Cloud would take care of themselves.
And so, the Nibelheim residents left their houses, ready for their last year in school. As Cloud and Zack took their bikes, driving towards the high school, they failed to notice that Tifa hadn't left the house yet.
In fact, she was still on the roof, facing a long haired blonde in tight clothes.
Tifa looked at the girl's face, a sick feeling in her stomach. Recognition flashing through her eyes as her ears remembered the sound of a bonfire.
A/N: End of chap 77.
LTS: "I'm tired now. This chapter was mentally draining..."
Tifa: "At least it's finished..."
Tifa: "You know you should run now, right?"
LTS: "... Yeah..."
Zack: *runs towards LTS* "You're so not gonna end the chapter there!"
LTS: *gets up and runs away* "Oh, c'mon! Cut me some slack, will you?"
Cloud: "R&R and thanks for reading."
CIH! 29/09/2010 LTS: "By the way, if you had the time or just want to enjoy this chapter better, read the first chapter and then this one again. I was really surprised how much the characters' lives have changed in this time." *whispering* "And chapter 19: Bonfire is still there, if you need to check some of the hints..."