A/N: Giftfic for LadyTeefStrife. Also this is my first attempt with Cloti, please be gentle, kay? Thanks to 6jrz422 for being my beta.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything.
Cloud was missing.
One might think that after Sephiroth's last defeat he would have been able to live with other people. And for at least two days he had. He even shared her bed. But when Tifa woke up this morning, her blond lover had disappeared, again. She sighed while she kept walking through the slums where she suspected Cloud to be.
Before an hour had passed, Tifa came upon the old church. Fenrir was parked outside. She had been right.
Tifa opened the doors carefully and enjoyed the peaceful feeling that everyone felt when they entered the old building.
Sitting in a pew, in front of the pool, was Cloud, cleaning a sword. Tifa frowned. It wasn't the First Tsurugi. It was the old Buster Sword. Cloud had cleaned off all of the rust, and was now polishing the weapon, caressing the blade with soft and smooth strokes. 'Like the way he caressed me under the Highwind two years ago'. Tifa cherished that night as the happiest moment in her life. Now she couldn't avoid feeling just a little bit jealous. When she reached the pew, Cloud stood up and spoke.
"I didn't expect you to find me so soon."
"It was the only logical place to look for you."
"You know me too well..." Cloud was smiling.
"What are you doing here, anyway?"
"There were some things I needed to fix before truly coming back."
At this point Cloud lifted the Buster Sword, and Tifa inspected the blade in amazement. The once dirty, dull, and rusty sword was shining now, like the first time she had seen it, the day she had met Zack. Impulsively she put her hand on the hilt, over Cloud's hand. Somehow, while she looked at the magnificent blade, she saw Zack, smiling and forgiving her. 'Thank you' she thought.
With an understanding smile she let go of the hilt and Cloud went to leave the blade behind the pool, leaning it against the wall surrounded by Aerith's flowers. They both reveled in the peacefulness of the setting before them. Tifa was the one to break the silence.
"You were right, Cloud. It needed to be done."
"The Buster Sword is a symbol of Zack's dreams, his honor... His heart. It's only fair to let it rest where his heart belongs, with his love." Tifa realized something and couldn't help but comment on it.
"You're talking about them." Cloud looked at her. "And yet you're smiling."
"During the last few days my point of view on certain... things, have changed. You were right, Teef. I was consumed by the guilt, blaming myself for things beyond my control. They never blamed me. Not once. That alone should be enough, but also I... realized something else. Forever... I'll be sad because I was unable to save them, but I know that they did it not because it was a duty... or a fate, they did it because they wanted to, because it was who they were. And knowing that, I feel much better."
"I'm glad to hear that." And it was true. Maybe now, finally, Cloud could really begin to live his life.
"There is also another thing I would like to do, before we go home."
Home. Had Tifa heard right? Her heart began to beat faster. If Cloud called the Seventh Heaven "home" maybe he intended to spend more time with the children. They would be so happy, especially Denzel! The boy idolized Cloud. Tifa smiled.
"Well then, what are you waiting for?"
In response, Cloud went to the flower bed, and picked a little white flower. He, somehow, made a circle with the stem. Meanwhile, Tifa watched him with curiosity. He returned and took her left hand. He kneeled in front of her and put the circular flower on her ring finger.
"Tifa, I will be the happiest man in Gaia if you say 'yes'. Do you want to marry me?"
Her heart stopped. Her knees wobbled. Her mouth opened. Her brain shut down. 'He just... asked… to marry… me?!' Time stopped, and all Tifa could see was the beautiful, lovely engagement ring. All that Tifa could hear was his question, over and over again. All that Tifa could think about was marrying Cloud. Suddenly, time came back into being. Her heart began to pump again. She stared into his beautiful, deep blue eyes, and saw his love.
"Yes... Yes. Yes!"
Her eyes were watering while she threw herself into Cloud's arms, locking their mouths in a passionate yet tender kiss. Cloud returned the affection, kissing and hugging her eagerly. After a few minutes, Tifa drew back to stare into Cloud's eyes, and asked.
"Why? Why now?"
Cloud caressed her cheek and stared at the ring for a while. When he looked at her again, Tifa could see a fire burning in his eyes as he stared into her reddish-brown eyes. How such a passion could live inside the usually reserved, almost apathetic, Cloud was beyond her imagination.
"Because I finally know who you are."
"Who?" Her voice was trembling with the emotion, the love, and the passion.
"You were the girl I liked." With that, Cloud kissed her cheek.
"Really?" Tifa exclaimed in surprise.
"You were the teen I had a crush on." Cloud moved on to her hand.
"Cloud." Shiva! If this kept going on she would pass out!
"You are the woman I love." Cloud moved back to her mouth.
Tifa pulled herself flush into his arms, kissing him and enjoying his warmth while Cloud picked her up, bridal style, and carried her to what remained of the flower bed. He put her on the ground like a jewel. He stroked her cheek and neck without ever ceasing the kisses, meanwhile his other hand caressed her ribs. Knowing what they were heading towards, Tifa couldn't help but ask.
"Do you think she'll forgive us for crushing her flowers?" Both occupants laughed softly.
"Don't need to be worried, she won't complain." Another kiss. "Besides, I'm sure that she and Zack did the same."
And between joyful laughs they abandoned themselves to love.
A/N: Hope you like it LadyTeefStrife!
Also, the whole thing with the flower as an engagement ring was unconsciously inspired by "Lost and Found" written by Xenobia. When I realized, I asked her/his permission to use the idea, and she/he agreed. Thank you! And if you, the reader, are not afraid of explicit scenes, try to read it. It's an excellent Cloti, with a lots of Zerith :)
Please, Read & Review! And as LadyTeefStrife says CIH! (I prefer Zerith, though) ;P