Living the Lie

Humiliate him, destroy him, make him beg for death and then when he's almost gone from this world, make him live through hell.

Boxes lined the back of the truck in a neat order. Each box had been carefully labeled detailing the contents that lay within. The last container was waiting to be closed as a raven-haired beauty stared at an object in her hand. It was the last thing tying him to her. The damned thing still sparkled in the light; a painful reminder of what used to be. She had stopped wearing her wedding ring a year ago after she had been shown the pictures. She would have returned it to him, but she didn't know where he was. Nobody did.

It was probably just as well that none of her friends or even his employer could find him. Traitor: that was what he had been branded and she was nothing but the traitor's wife. At least the later was going to be remedied in a few days. Reeve Tuesti, her lawyer, was handling that.

"Hey Tifa, is that the last of the boxes?" a burly black man asked as he placed another box into the truck.

Tifa quickly placed the ring box into the cardboard container and closed it up. "Yeah, that should be it. Thanks for your help Barret."

"Think nothing of it. You've been through a lot. It's the least I could do. Is all of this stuff his?"

"No, some of it is Zack's stuff that was left at Elmyra's. She insisted on keeping all of Aerith's belongings," Tifa offered a sad smile. "She was hoping that Marlene would be interested in them when she got older."

Barret nodded his head in understanding. "I'll be sure to tell her when I get home. Marlene was really close to Aerith. Have they found out what caused that fire yet?"

Tifa shook her head. "They think it might have something to do with poor wiring or some electrical problems. They're not sure if it came from their apartment building or the other one."

"One of the worst fires in the history of Midgar and of the eighty people killed, Zack and Aerith had to be two of them. Damn, life sometimes ain't fair."

"I know what you mean," Tifa said as she rubbed the blank space on her left ring finger.

Barret closed the back of the truck after loading the last box. "Well, I've got all of the boxes. I'll drop these off at the donation center for you. You sure you're going to be okay at the hearing by yourself?"

"Yes, I'll be fine. It's only supposed to be a procedural hearing. Just crossing all of the T's and dotting the I's. Then I'll be back to being Tifa Lockhart."

"Seems strange hearing you call yourself that. I've only ever known you as Cloud's wife."

"Well, it'll be ex-wife in a few days. So you better start getting used to hearing me called Miss Lockhart."

Barret nodded as he pulled her into a warm embrace. "You take care, you hear me girl?"

"I will," Tifa flashed a reassuring smile.

The woman waved at her friend as he drove off in the truck down the busy streets of Midgar. She sighed and walked back into her apartment building feeling the weight of the world on her shoulders.

"So how does it feel being a free woman again?"

Tifa sighed. "No different than it did yesterday or the day before."

"Lighten up girl! It's going to take some time. Especially after what that asshole did to you. Let me order a few more drinks for you and try to find a hot guy to hook you up with," the younger woman said.

"Yuffie, that's not necessary."

"Not necessary my ass. You're young, beautiful and available. Also, we're celebrating your official divorce. It's high time you went out and let your hair down."

Tifa bit her lip in embarrassment. "Yuffie, quiet down. People are staring."

The younger woman ignored her friend and continued her tirade. "Look, all you need is a little liquid courage and a hot piece of ass to loosen you up. I'm going to get some more of that liquid courage and if a hot piece of ass decides to talk to you, don't turn him away."

Tifa tried to catch her friend before she left her alone at the table they were sitting at, but Yuffie was too fast for her. Nervously, Tifa's eyes darted back and forth between the many males that lingered nearby. She had never been comfortable with the bold stares she was receiving. She had always had one of her male friends or Cloud to deter the unwanted looks. At the thought of Cloud, Tifa's face soured and she downed her drink before defiantly holding her head high. She angled her neck ever so slightly so her hair would fall down the side of her face in an alluring way that she knew drove men crazy: at least it did Cloud. The air in the bar electrified after her little gesture. The emboldened leers of the men in the bar empowered her and Tifa found herself smiling radiantly when Yuffie returned with more than just a drink in her hand.

"Tifa, I'd like you to meet someone who's wanted to talk to you ever since we walked in the bar," Yuffie gestured to the devilishly handsome man standing next to her. "Tifa Lockhart, this is Sephiroth Crescent."

"Pleased to meet you Mr. Crescent," Tifa said as she reached her hand out, admiring his long silver mane and green eyes.

Sephiroth shook her hand firmly before answering with velvet steel. "The pleasure's all mine Miss Lockhart. And please, just call me Sephiroth."

"Only if you call me Tifa." She graciously took the new drink that Yuffie brought her and took a few sips: liquid courage indeed.

"So what brings you two lovely ladies here tonight?" Sephiroth asked as he stared at Tifa.

"We're celebrating Tifa's first hours of freedom," Yuffie said noticing the possessive looks Sephiroth was giving her friend. "I'm sure that Tifa would be willing to tell you all about it. I have to say 'hi' to a friend over there in the corner. Be right back."

The young girl left the pair alone at the table without even waiting for a reply. She had no intentions of returning to their table that night and Tifa knew exactly what Yuffie was trying to do. At least the newly divorced woman had a handsome stranger and a Long Island Iced Tea to fill the void.

Sephiroth watched Yuffie leave the table with a smirk. "So I guess I should offer you congratulations. What exactly did you free yourself from?"

"Ex-husband. I finally got my divorce."

"I'm sorry. He must not have had much sense to leave a beautiful woman like you behind."

Tifa snorted. "That's what everyone tells me. But I guess he got bored and wanted an adventure."

"If you point him out to me, I could take care of him for you," Sephiroth leaned in to whisper.

The action caused Tifa to blush as his silky hair brushed against her cheek. "That won't be necessary, though I appreciate the gesture. I don't know where he is. Last I heard from him was over a year ago when he left me."

"And you're just now getting your divorce?"

"Apparently you have to be separated from your spouse for at least a year before you can finalize a divorce in Midgar. It's really stupid," Tifa huffed as she took a deep gulp of her drink.

"A man like that is not worth your time. Though, if I ever come across him, I promise that I will inflict as much pain on him as possible."

"Thank you Sephiroth, I'd like that very much." Tifa smiled.

They spent the rest of the evening together conversing. Tifa found herself enjoying her company with Sephiroth. He was very attentive to her questions and very interested in finding out more about her life. He was genuine when he said that he hoped that he would be able to see her as much as possible now that they had exchanged numbers. She was feeling a certain giddiness she hadn't felt since she had been with Cloud. Tifa was starting to feel like a new woman.

After a few weeks, it was probably safe to say that they were an item. Yuffie had more than encouraged the union by taking a few of Tifa's shifts so she could go out with Sephiroth. Tifa had let him take her out on a few dates: a movie, dinner, walk in the park. They were all safe and he never pressured her for anything more than the pleasure of her company. Sephiroth seemed like a good man and even her close friends Barret and Cid agreed. Pleasing them was a surprise considering that they never really saw eye-to-eye with Cloud. She had told him that she worked at a restaurant owned by Barret, but was now trying to get her degree. He had told her that he was a businessman that sold weapons and armor to the military. She had disclosed a bit more about her relationship with her ex-husband. Sephiroth knew that they were childhood sweethearts and both used to live in the quaint town of Nibelheim. He knew that she only moved to Midgar because of Cloud's career and that she married young at the tender age of eighteen. She told him that they had been married for seven years before Cloud left her, though she didn't feel comfortable talking about the details of why he left. Sephiroth never pushed for more information than she was willing to give and she was thankful. He was considerate of her feelings.

"So tell me Tifa, when was the last time you practiced martial arts? You said you studied under Zangan?"

"Yes, Zangan was my instructor. It's probably been a few months actually. I've been so busy trying to put my life back together and packing away all of his stuff, I haven't had time."

Sephiroth looked thoughtful. "How about we spar?"

"Spar? When?"

"Right now."

Tifa looked baffled. "Now? Are you serious?"

"Absolutely," Sephiroth smirked. "Come with me."

Tifa followed the silver-haired man and let him lead her to a beautifully furnished complex with top-notch security. After scanning a card through a card reader, he led her to an empty gym. It was spacious with high-ceilings and a hard-wood floor: perfect for martial arts. Tifa felt out of place in the up-scale gym. Luckily, Sephiroth was the only other person there to watch her squirm in discomfort.


"A bit. This is a really nice facility."

"It better be. I paid top dollar for my condo. This gym is only one of the perks that they give the residents," Sephiroth said as he tightened the gloves on his hands.

Tifa stared back in disbelief. "You live here?"

Sephiroth nodded. "Are you ready?"

Shaking her head, Tifa cleared her mind for a few seconds before loosening up her body. The gloves that Sephiroth had loaned her were a perfect fit and quite comfortable. "Ready."

The pair faced one another both positioning themselves into an open stance. They kept their eyes focused, watching and waiting for the right moment to strike. The slight narrowing of his eyes was the only warning Tifa got before Sephiroth unleashed a volley of strikes aiming for her face and mid-section. She instinctively raised her hands to block the attacks. He grunted in a pleased tone when he found that all of his strikes had been blocked or deflected. Tifa even had the foresight to try and get in a few jabs of her own during that volley.

They sparred back and forth without either getting an advantage over the other for several minutes. To an outsider, the spar looked like an intricate dance that involved kicks, punches and flips. Tifa was certainly glad that she hadn't lost her touch, though a part of her wondered where Sephiroth had gotten his training. For someone who was a businessman, he certainly had the stamina and physique of someone who was either military or professionally trained. His eyes followed her every movement reading her like a book. Then Sephiroth started to get serious. Tifa found herself more on the defensive than she would have liked. He was relentless in his attacks on her. A few jabs had connected that stung. She was getting sloppy and losing focus.

"Come on Teef, getting tired?" Sephiroth said as he stood back expectantly.

Tifa's eyes widened as she heard those words. Only one man had ever called her 'Teef' and she hadn't seen him in over a year. Instead of the silver-hair of Sephiroth, she thought she saw spiky blond with cat-like green superimposed with a deep blue. Then all reason and logic seemed to vanish as she reacted out of pure rage. Clenching her fists, she ran towards her opponent with her attacks aimed at his head in a combination of punches, kicks and jabs. Her opponent staggered back from the onslaught and tried to correct his stance, but Tifa didn't give him the chance as she crouched low and swept her right leg out to bring her opponent down.

He fell back and without missing a beat, she was on top of him with her legs locking his in place and fists driving endlessly into his face. "You bastard! Why did you leave me? Why did you tell me you loved me all of those years and then leave me for someone else? I thought you said we were going to be together forever? You promised that I would be the only one. You promised me that you were my knight and would protect me forever. You promised."

Tears blurred her vision as she punched the man beneath her. Gradually her punches got weaker with each tear shed and each lament voiced. A hand reached up to cup her face and she gasped as she saw that the man beneath her wasn't a vision of her ex-husband, but Sephiroth.

"Oh god. I'm so sorry Sephiroth. I didn't mean to get carried away. I'm so sorry," Tifa carefully touched his bruised face.

Sephiroth smiled in understanding. "It's alright. You needed to let it all out. I goaded you into that anyways."

Embarrassed, Tifa rolled off of him and laid his head in her lap, gently stroking his face. "I guess I had a lot of repressed anger."

"Want to talk about it? I'm all ears if you want to vent," Sephiroth said as he gazed up into her eyes. He looked at her with morbid curiosity. They weren't judgmental over her brash actions or angry at the fact that he had a bloody and bruised face.

"I've never really told you the circumstances of why Cloud left me, did I? Well, it's simple really. He betrayed me. Do you remember the big news over a year ago when an officer in the Shinra military joined the terrorist group Deepground?"

Sephiroth nodded his head.

"Well, that was Cloud. I was one of the first people to find out. I had just finished making dinner waiting for him to come home when instead of hearing Cloud entering, I get a knock on the door from the Turks. They barged into the apartment as if I was harboring some secret information that they needed. The entire place was raided. Then they started questioning me about my loyalties and what I knew about where Cloud was. I answered honestly not knowing what they were doing. Then they showed me the pictures.

"You never got to see these pictures in the press because they were too racy to publish. As much as I want to forget them, I remember them in vivid detail as if they were burned into my memory. It was a picture of Cloud lying naked on his back with a blue-haired tramp straddling him. Apparently she was an agent for Deepground. I don't remember her name. I wasn't sure if this was all some sick joke. But it was true, the picture didn't lie. Cloud had left me for some woman in a terrorist organization and became a traitor. For the longest time, the Turks thought I was one too. I don't even know if they completely believe that I'm not. Needless to say, I haven't heard from Cloud since. He's probably out fucking that woman or plotting something horrible against Shinra. I gave-up so much for him. Too bad my marriage was nothing but a huge lie. I can't believe he left me like that."

"He's nothing but a fool," Sephiroth said caressing her hand.

Tifa laughed through her tears. "That's what all of my friends said. But he made his decisions. I just have to live with the consequences. How are your bruises feeling?"

Sephiroth strained to sit-up. "They'll heal."

"I'm really sorry. Is there anyway I can make it up to you for what I did?"

"You can make it up to me by going out on a date with me and then letting me take you to my condo. Sound fair?" Sephiroth grinned with a dark look in his eyes that were rooted in possessiveness.

She wiped her tears away and nodded with a smiled. "Sounds good to me."

They waited until his bruises had healed. Tifa still felt incredibly guilty about them, but Sephiroth reassured her that they were worth it since she had opened up to him more. The dinner date was one of the most luxurious and magical nights that Tifa had ever experienced. Sephiroth wined and dined her like a high class lady. The tuxedo that he wore certainly added to the allure of the evening. Not to be outdone, Tifa had Yuffie help her find a stunning dress and was glad it did not disappoint if the ever-present leer on his face was any indication. It probably helped that the long black velvet dress clung to her like a second skin and was strapless. Apparently, bare shoulders were a turn-on.

As the evening wound down, Tifa let Sephiroth drive her to his condo rather than back to her own apartment. Though this was the end of her date, it was also the beginning of something else. Tifa wasn't naïve; she knew the implications of agreeing to this date. But Sephiroth had always seemed interested in her. It was all that she wanted: to feel desired. It was time to take the plunge.

Once Sephiroth opened the door to his condo, she felt like she was in an entirely new world. Compared to her quaint apartment filled with hand-me-downs and outdated electronics, Sephiroth's apartment was filled with all of the newest electronics and beautiful modern artwork. The kitchen was equipped with stainless steel appliances and marble countertops. The living room alone could fit all of the rooms in her apartment. It was the type of place Tifa had always dreamed of having when she first moved to Midgar with Cloud.

"Wow, this place is huge."

"I'm glad you like it. Please make yourself at home. Some wine?"

"Yes, please." Liquid courage was always beneficial in these situations.

The pair settled down on one of the plush couches in the living room as they enjoyed each other's company. Tifa let her eyes roam over the splendor that Sephiroth lived in and briefly wondered how a country-girl like her could have caught his attention. With each sip of wine, those thoughts seemed less and less relevant when the sinfully irresistible man before her gazed at her with eyes that melted away her insecurities.

"Did you want a tour of the rest of my apartment?" Sephiroth suggested in an innocently deceptive manner.

"I'd love one."

The first and last room Tifa would see that evening was the master bedroom. Upon entering, Tifa noticed that one wall was filled from top to bottom in a massive mirror. The mirror gave the illusion that the room was much bigger than it really was. One could also see the king-sized bed through the reflection. Tifa gazed into the mirror, marveling at its size. She had a perfect view of Sephiroth as he wrapped his arms around her and slowly kissed her bare neck, keeping his eyes locked onto her reflection.

She let out a breathy whisper, "Sephiroth."

"Did I tell you how beautiful you looked tonight?"

"At least ten times."

Sephiroth smirked at her through the mirror as he traced one of his fingers down her face and neck, lingering dangerously close to her bosom. "I should add that you look absolutely divine. I could devour every inch of you."

Tifa flushed at the heated remark and hoped that he would make do on his observation. "I think it's only fair that if you get to devour me, then I get to taste you as well."

Pulling Tifa's face towards his, Sephiroth captured her lips in a heated kiss. His hands roamed all over her body, leaving no part untouched. If it weren't for his arms, Tifa probably would have melted with the burning desire of his lips. Slowly breaking the kiss, Sephiroth let his mouth wander towards her neck and back. Tifa let herself get swept up in his touches as she felt him slowly unzipping her dress.

With a startled gasp, the heavy material of the dress fell off her body and pooled at her feet. She felt the shock of the cold air nipping at her bare chest. The mirror showed Sephiroth every aspect of her front while he admired her from behind. Wasting no time he cupped her full breasts eliciting a breathy moan. He kissed her again with renewed fervor. Of course, Tifa was not one to be outdone and the woman turned until she was facing him as she traced her hands all over his body.

Deft fingers worked at the buttons on his tuxedo. Sephiroth pulled at his clothes to help her as their lips remained locked in a battle for dominance. They only broke the kiss as Tifa moved lower. Tifa worked at his belt with an excited rush. She could feel him through his clothes and knew that whatever lay underneath would not disappoint. She blushed after divesting him of both pants and boxers in one hungry pull. She only spared a moment of admiration before taking him into her mouth. His hands pulled encouragingly at her hair. Tifa would have continued until completion if he hadn't pushed her away reluctantly.

Pulling Tifa up from her knees, he gave her another kiss before sitting her down on the edge of his bed so that she faced the mirror. "Now it's my turn," Sephiroth said before he took her panties off and spread her legs.

Once Sephiroth buried his head between her thighs, she thought she had been taken to a new dimension of pleasure. She panted and gasped in throaty moans as she felt his tongue do wondrous things to her. Her hips involuntarily rocked to the rhythm his mouth made. The reflection of her flushed body with Sephiroth kneeling before her, worshipping her most private place, was her undoing as she screamed in ecstasy.

Tifa had barely come down from her high when she felt Sephiroth lift her up and stand her in front of the mirror, positioning her body so he could take her from behind. Placing both hands on the mirror for support, Tifa widened her stance and waited for more. Sephiroth teased her as she closed her eyes to the sensations his fingers and the tip of his length were causing. It was a pleasurable torture that she endured with a heady desire for more.

"Tifa, look at me."

The command caused her to snap open her eyes and look at Sephiroth's reflection. His eyes were intense with anticipation; a feral grin graced his lips in an aggressive leer. Then before she knew it, he impaled himself inside her until she cried out sinful screams of lust. Once he started moving, Tifa was rendered incapable of coherent thought or speech. All she knew was the intense pleasure coursing through her body as orgasmic moans escaped her throat in waves. She couldn't even feel her breath fogging up the mirror or her breasts pressed against the cold surface. Sephiroth was making sure to fill her with intense pleasure like none she had ever experienced.

Eventually she found herself on the bed with her legs wrapped around his waist with him moving above and inside her. Never once did he slow down his relentless drive. They changed positions several times; Tifa couldn't even recall them all. When she found herself crying out Sephiroth's name in the final throes of passion, she saw that she was on her side facing the mirror as his hips thrust a few more times into her with his completion. The hand holding one of her legs up smoothed over her thigh before gently positioning her into a more comfortable pose.

Tifa wanted to move; to speak, but her body was over-stimulated. She tried to wrap her arms around Sephiroth's neck, but her limbs refused to budge. Only her lips moved in a satisfied smile. She hadn't been thoroughly fucked like that ever in her life. But Sephiroth was understanding as he tucked her into his bed and kissed her softly. Wrapping his arms around her waist, he whispered in her ear how wonderful she was. His dark, silky voice relaxed her and she was lulled into a dreamless sleep, blissfully unaware of her surroundings.

As Tifa slept soundly on the bed, Sephiroth pulled on a robe and went into his closet. Deep inside the back of the closet, he pulled down a concealed panel where he entered a code on a keypad. A secret door opened leading to a hidden room that belonged to the neighboring condo. Sephiroth entered the darkly lit room and shut the soundproof door.

The room had several knives and prods hanging from the wall. A blow-up of two articles lined the wall. One with the headline "High ranking officer betrays Shinra army for Deepground," the other detailed the horrific fire in Upper Midgar as well as listing the victims. The names Zack and Aerith Fair were the only names highlighted. Next to the articles was a poster-sized copy of the official divorce decree of Tifa Lockhart to Cloud Strife. They were all posted on a wall within eye-sight of a man strapped to a chair. The most striking part of the room was the large window that peered into Sephiroth's bedroom where one could see the figure of Tifa Lockhart sleeping soundly on his bed.

"Did he finally crack?"

"It's as you predicted General Sephiroth," a blue-haired woman answered. "I have all of the information on Project G."

"Excellent work Jenova. I hope we were able to . . . entertain you," Sephiroth smirked as he looked through the one-way mirror to see Tifa sleeping.

Sephiroth turned to the man strapped to the chair. The man's blond hair hung limply against his face. Blue eyes had been pried open with pliers to prevent the man from shutting his eyes. His body was marred with various cuts and scars: some old, some new. Tears and blood covered his pale face as he stared gaping at the woman sleeping soundly in the bed.

"She is a rare beauty, don't you agree, Cloud?"

"You bastard, what have you done to her?"

Sephiroth laughed. "I think you know very well what I did to her but if you want me to spell it out for you . . . I fucked her long and hard and she liked every second of it. So tell me Cloud, did you ever make her scream in ecstasy like I did?"

"Fuck you! Don't you dare touch her again," Cloud struggled against the leather straps.

"My, my; you still have some fight in you left. I guess we'll have to take care of that and I know just how to do it. Did you know that I have plans for Tifa? Yes, big plans. You see, I'm going to woo her, make love to her, marry her and in time, have her bear my children. And you Cloud will stay alive to witness this all. Don't worry, I'll make her happy and keep her safe. She'll stay with me thinking I'm her savoir from your treachery. All because you love her. This will be your hell Cloud Strife. I hope you enjoy."

Sephiroth left the hidden room laughing as he ignored the shouts coming from his nemesis. He returned to his bedroom where Tifa still lay sleeping peacefully; completely unaware of the hidden room or how close she was to her ex-husband. Tenderly, Sephiroth stroked her cheek while glaring at the mirror where he knew Cloud was watching. Keeping his eyes on the mirror, Sephiroth kissed Tifa's forehead before wrapping his arms around her possessively and reveling in his conquest.

A/N: I haven't done something psychological in a while. Consider this an early Halloween fic. Hope you liked it and aren't too disturbed.