Cloud smiled gently as he looked at his friends. It was over. Sephiroth was defeated, the Remnants were gone, and Geostigma was finally cured. He was looking forward to sleeping in a warm bed again, and eating a delicious full meal courtesy of Tifa.

Ah, Tifa. Cloud's smiled widened as his eyes followed the barmaid as she walked towards him, her hips sashaying gently. The girl who never left him. The one who he had a huge childhood crush on which somehow evolved into something bigger over the years. He had so much to make up for. She was always there when he needed her, and she never lost her cool even when he messed up, not even when he had left her and the kids behind. He smiled at her when she extended her hand at him. Even now, when he was healed and in a pool of water, where nothing could go wrong, she still held him up. She always… WHOA!

Cloud's musings got rudely interrupted when he found himself sailing across the church, with dozens of shocked eyes following his flight.

"That was for not telling us you had geostigma!"

Before he could get his bearing back, he felt his shirt being grabbed, caught a glint of ruby and long dark hair, and then he was being tossed down hard the ground.

"That was for leaving home without telling us why!"

As Cloud lay gasping on the ground, he felt a small kick directed at his head.

"And that was for making Tifa cry!" Marlene said as she hovered over him, a note of triumph in her voice even as she tried hard to keep back her giggles.

As Cloud's shocked eyes looked for Tifa, she appeared right in front of him, a small smile in her face, every strand of hair in place as though she hadn't just whooped the world's savior's butt in place. "Well?"

"Uh, well what?" Cloud asked, rubbing the back of his head in his familiar habit when he gets confused.

"Aren't you going to head home?" Without waiting for a response, Tifa turned around, extended her hands which were promptly grabbed by Denzel on one side and Marlene on the other, and headed for the door of the church. At the entrance, she tilted her head at him and smiled impishly, her eyes twinkling, before she continued moving. As she walked, the rest of the Avalanche gang promptly covered their faces to hide their laughter, although Yuffie's giggles and Barret's guffaws somehow escaped. Cloud shook his head and then stood up, following Tifa's path. He let a smile pass his lips, even as he ignored Cid's coughs that sounded suspiciously like "Whipped!" and Yuffie's laughter, which had somehow turned into snorts in those few seconds.

Somehow, he knew he didn't need to make up for anything anymore.


My first FF7 fic. Hope you liked it. It's a little short, but I've always wanted to write this piece, especially after Tifa's "lecture" line.

Please review and let me know what you think!