Disclaimer: I don't own Kingdom Hearts, its characters or storyline. This collection is mine, as are McCallister and Nestor. This is it, the big finale chapter! I must say, it turned out WAY longer than I intended, but otherwise it would have been too chopped off. Anyway, I hope this is a suitable end to this collection. The title of this last ditty is the same title as the song "Dream A Little Dream of Me" by Mama Cass, which was my musical muse for this chapter. Enjoy!

..:-X-:..

Dream a Little Dream of Me

"Leon. Hey, you with us?" Cid's hand on his shoulder was rough.

Leon just sat there, only vaguely aware that he was sitting slumped forward in his seat, hardly registering the ache in his neck and the exhaustion in his joints from staying in the same position for so long without moving.

"You need to do something." Cid was saying. "Get some sleep, eat, walk around, or at least blink to let me know you're hearing any of this."

Leon slowly lifted his gaze from the bland tile floor of the hospital room to look up at Cid, who was bent over trying to coerce some sort of reaction out of him. Should he…was he supposed to say something? What had Cid asked? Something about…about sleep…

Eye contact seemed to placate the older man, though he cursed under his breath at whatever was looking back out of Leon's eyes at him. His hands drifted to his pocket, where he was fighting the urge to light up in the smoke-free hospital.

"What time…" Leon started, cleared his throat—which had been rendered hoarse somehow—had he been screaming earlier?—and tried again, "How much time—"

Cid looked to the clock on the wall, "It's been about 37 hours since they were brought in. Forty-five hours since the quake."

The earthquake…right. Forty-five hours ago a massive earthquake had rocked half of Twilight Town. The entire downtown sects had been ripped apart. Buildings full of people had collapsed, and aftershocks had been destabilizing the area since the quake itself stopped.

Of course, the first thing the Alliance did was deploy several squads to help with search and rescue and handling the situation, making order out of chaos. He had been across the Allied territory in Traverse Town, working up…progress reports sounded right. It felt like days ago…had been days ago, he guessed. By the time he'd wrapped up there and started back to Radiant Garden, the airwaves had been a cacophony of news and rumors about the quake.

Cid, Tifa, and Cloud's squads had all been sent to help with the aid effort, and ten minutes after Leon's Gummi touched down in Radiant Garden, it was taking flight again, refueled and carrying his squad to help Twilight Town as well.

That had been…how many hours was that…35? 36 maybe? It didn't matter, the damage had been done, and now…

"Is she…Has there been any…" Leon asked groggily.

"No change." Cid shook his head. "But you need to move around."

He looked up at the man, "What?" He croaked, throat dry.

"I got here three hours ago and you haven't moved at all." Cid grasped one of Leon's arms, giving him a coaxing tug. "Turning into a zombie won't help her."

In all actuality, Leon wanted nothing more than to just sit here and wait, because waiting was all he could do at this point, and if that was all he could do, he wanted to at least do that where he could see her, keep an eye on her. But Cid managed to coerce him to his feet, and the sudden return of blood flow to his extremities made him light headed for a moment.

Due to the waves of casualties from the earthquake, a private hospital room had been out of the question. Tifa was sharing a room with three other people, all three of which were outpatient. Broken arms, concussions, and mild burns: paper cuts compared to—Tifa's condition.

The arm and leg on her right side had sustained severely compound fractures. The muscle damage and bleeding in her leg was still tempting the doctors to consider amputation. Her face, neck, and shoulder were burned and swollen and bruised. Major head trauma had kept her unconscious since she was brought in, and she had yet to respond to any of the treatment that she was being given.

She had coded in the OR when they removed the shrapnel and debris from her chest cavity, where she had been nearly impaled by a splintered piece of…something. Almost all of her organs had had some episode of internal bleeding since she was admitted and now she wasn't even breathing on her own.

If Leon had had anything left in him to throw up, he would have.

"You have your phone?" Cid was asking.

Leon tore his eyes away from her red, bruised, and stitched face to Cid's concerned one. "What?"

"Phone." Cid repeated, "Aerith is here. I'll stay with Tifa until Aerith finds her room. Then she'll stay with her. We'll keep an eye on her for you. You need to get out of this room for a while."

It was the last thing Leon wanted to do, but whatever part of his brain that hadn't been damaged by panic, sleep deprivation, or general shock seemed to see Cid's logic. So he just grunted something noncommittal, made sure he still had his phone in his pocket, and wandered out of the ICU.

Now what?

What was he supposed to do? Get some fresh air? Twilight Town reeked of ash, fuel, and blood. There was nowhere he wanted to be. He didn't want to be in this hospital, on this world, and he definitely did not want Tifa to be in this hospital. He let his legs take him wherever they wanted. Cid was right…He was a zombie.

Leon opened his eyes before realizing that he'd shut them.

He was sitting in one of the pews in the hospital chapel. It was a small, enclosed room, dimly lit and all in soft, warm colors. There wasn't a specific denomination of any religion on display…It was just a standard support room for people to…to wait…like he was.

The chaos had more or less abated, the aftershocks had almost settled down now, though they would probably continue on and off for days…Tifa hadn't even been in Twilight Town when the earthquake had hit…She had been searching for survivors in an unstable building when an aftershock hit, causing the building to implode and collapse on top of her entire squad. Luckily Cloud's group had been nearby and they had dug them all out. Cloud had been the one to identify her first…and Leon had no idea where he was now.

"I never took you for the religious type." Tifa was sitting next to him.

Leon started slightly, turning to look at her. She looked back at him, not a mark on her. Her skin was as fair and smooth as it had been two days ago…Her eye wasn't swollen shut and her face wasn't covered in bruises. God, she was beautiful.

But…wait…this—

"You aren't here." He said hoarsely.

She folded her hands in her lap. "No. I'm not." She tilted her head, "I'm sorry."

Leon closed his eyes. It was painful to look at her like this when he knew she wasn't okay. "What are you then? A hallucination?"

"Yes." Was her quiet answer.

"Why?" He swallowed hard.

"You're sleep deprived and stressed out…A hallucination isn't so far fetched." She remarked.

He looked at her painfully. The dim lighting of the room gave her wine-colored eyes a soft shine to them, made her skin nearly glow, and she was sitting there like…like a porcelain sculpture, instead of the bloodied body who the doctors were trying to keep stable down the hall.

She smiled gently and he almost had to look away from her.

"Why did you go back in there?" He said, a tremble breaking across his arms as he leaned forward in the pew.

"There were people inside. They were hurt and they needed help." It was something she would say. At least his hallucination of her was accurate.

"The building was unstable." He tried to make her understand. "There were precautions that should have been taken…"

She tilted her head the other way and moved closer to him. "There wasn't time…This isn't your fault."

"God…" He exhaled, looking away from her. Why did she do that?

"Because I know you." She whispered in answer to his silent question. "There was nothing you could have done, and you couldn't have stopped me from going in there."

"Stop…" He closed his eyes. "Please…"

"You can't fix me." She said.

Any composure he had left started to crumble. "Why are you telling me this?" He looked at her, no matter how much the sight of her hurt him. "The doctors will fix you. You're destroying me."

"I'm sorry." She whispered, standing. "Maybe I should go."

"No." Leon turned in his seat so that he was facing her where she stood in the aisle. "I don't—I'm sorry. I don't want you to go."

Go where? She was a hallucination.

"You don't." It was a statement, not a question. "But my being here is hurting you." She looked perplexed.

Leon watched her, not any particular part of her, just her. The way she moved. The way she held herself. Her posture. The curve of her body. The sad little smile on her lips. Her eyes. He dropped his gaze to the pew before her eyes could suck him in and never let him escape.

"Are you dying?" He asked tonelessly.

She lifted a hand and brushed her fingers through his hair. He closed his eyes again, willing this hallucination to stop torturing him, but at the same time hoping that time would stop…that he could hold onto this for just a little longer…because the way things were going…She might never look this whole and healthy again…His throat constricted.

"I'm not psychic." She was saying. "I am only the construct of the real Tifa you know, the woman you love. I only know what you know."

Her hand lingered, her fingers sliding through his hair. She had mentioned that her mother would always play with her hair when she was upset or sick as a child…So she had insisted on giving him the same treatment when he was stressed out or unsettled about something…And though he never provoked her to do it, he never dissuaded her either.

And it wasn't making this moment any easier.

Leon involuntarily leaned into the touch, wanting more contact, more of her warmth, her touch, her skin. Even if she wasn't real right now…He needed this, needed her. He had leaned forward enough now that his forehead was touching her ribs, where she was still standing in front of him. God, she felt real…

"I'll fix this." He found himself muttering.

Both of her hands moved to the sides of his head and he looked up at her. She kept eye contact with him as she sat down beside him.

"You can't." She sounded breathless. "I'm so sorry."

He shook his head and she withdrew, "No. I can…I won't let—"

"Shh…" She toyed with his hair some more. "You can't solve everything, baby."

He trembled again involuntarily and clenched his jaw hard to stop it. "Why not?"

"That's not how it works." She whispered.

"Then what?" A sense of urgency crept on him again. "What should I do?"

She looked painfully vulnerable and sympathetic. "Prepare yourself for what might happen."

"No—"

"Sir!" Private Tabaeus McCallister stepped into the room.

Leon blinked, the ache returning to his body as he lifted his head. Tifa was gone, and part of him was suddenly furious at the soldier for interrupting the hallucination. Right now, reality was not his friend. He turned to look at the other woman.

The private's left shoulder was in a blue sling, and there were bruises littering her left side, but otherwise she looked healthy. She had been caught in some of the residual collapse from the building, but a dislocated shoulder and some bruises were hardly anything to complain about at this point.

"What?" He asked flatly.

"Commander Highwind sent me." She said, pale and twitchy. "It's Tifa."

..:-X-:..

"She had a severe allergic reaction to the antibiotics that we gave her." Dr. Kya Leng said, holding Tifa's medical chart with both hands.

"What does that mean?" Cloud sounded like he was interrogating the doctor.

Leon was aware of McCallister's eyes on him from her spot by the door. His back was turned to her, but the private had never been subtle when she was concerned. He didn't have time to pay attention to her right now. Tifa looked worse…Her skin almost looked yellow.

"Her liver is failing, that's why she's jaundiced." Dr. Leng answered. "Because her kidneys are also failing, we're going to put her on dialysis as soon as she's stabilized."

Cid had taken Aerith and Yuffie out of the room, but Cloud had refused to leave. McCallister was just standing by the door. Leon stood by Tifa's bedside; the ventilator's hum sounded alien as it pushed oxygen into her lungs. All of the machines and monitors and IVs hooked up to her gave her a robotic look. She was more artificial life support than human being at this point.

"She's not allergic to antibiotics." He mumbled, glancing over to Dr. Leng and Cloud.

Dr. Leng's shoulders fell slightly. "I know. I have her entire medical history here." She held up the file. "I've seen every member of the Restoration Committee in this hospital more times in the past year than any other patients. None of you are allergic to these antibiotics."

"Then why did she have a reaction?" Cloud asked, a panicked edge to his voice. "Why is she getting worse?"

Dr. Leng inhaled. "Multiple system failure is a sign of something else going on. The reaction to antibiotics might have been mistaken."

"Mistaken?" Leon faced her. "You can't make mistakes with her. Find out what's wrong and fix her."

"It's not that simple." Dr. Leng shook her head. "All of the tests we've run have come back negative. Our best diagnosis right now, ruling out the blunt force trauma, is a complication of a preexisting condition."

"She doesn't have any preexisting conditions." Cloud pointed out.

At the doctor's silence, Leon looked at her again. "What?"

Dr. Leng looked hesitant, "We think she may have gotten an infection in the OR."

"So you did this to her?" Cloud started.

Leon blinked slowly and saw McCallister's eyes widen. He looked more directly at the private as Dr. Leng went on.

"It's a very weak strain of a very common infection. Her body should have naturally fought it off without breaking a sweat." The doctor explained, "Yet, for some reason, it's spread across her liver and kidneys, and her lungs have already collapsed twice."

"She has no immune system." Cloud stated.

"Rather…Tests showed that she is on immunosuppressants." Dr. Leng explained.

McCallister's eyes shot from Dr. Leng, to Tifa, to Leon, and then she abruptly left the room, as though she'd had an epiphany. Leon watched her dart out and took one step after her before seeing Tifa's reflection in the hallway window. Cloud and Dr. Leng's voices fell mute…or maybe they just disappeared entirely.

"I'm hallucinating again." He turned around to see Tifa, whole and healthy, standing by the window.

She was leaning against the wall, arms folded in front of her. "Yes."

He glanced around the room. Dr. Leng and Cloud were still speaking across the room…Didn't they notice him talking to himself? Was he actually talking outloud or did he just think he was? None of this was making any sense.

"They don't know what's wrong with you." He said, tearing his eyes from the damaged and broken body on the bed to Tifa standing against the wall. "Are you dying?"

"We've gone over this." She said delicately, unfolding her arms. "We're all dying."

"Don't give me that." He said, voice thick as he looked at her. "Why am I hallucinating now?"

She shifted her weight from one foot to the other. "You're scared."

He didn't answer that, half turning away from her, feeling lightheaded. "You can't die. Not now…not after all this."

"You're afraid to lose me." She stepped toward him. "Just like you lost—"

"Don't." He lifted a hand. "Don't you dare. It's not the same."

Why was the room suddenly turning bright?

"You'll be okay if something bad happens."

"No, I won't." Leon glared at her.

Tifa placed her hand on his chest. "I'm sorry." She smiled softly. "But, hey, if I don't make it, you can get rid of the couch."

He stopped breathing, pulling away from her, willing her to go away. He didn't want to hear this…And if that—if she actually—He would never be able to get rid of that piece of furniture if she did. He could never go home, because her things were there. The apartment smelled like her. The others…They couldn't fill her place…He would have no one.

"Tabaeus." Tifa said.

The ground felt like it was shifting under him; it was dizzying. "What?"

"Find her. She can fix this." Tifa said softly.

"You said I couldn't fix you." Leon started to list sideways, losing his balance.

"You can't…Not like this…but she knows something…You know she does." Tifa nodded.

"But what does that—"

Cold tile floor.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa, easy."

"He's coming back…Leon?"

Leon's eyes fell open to see the legs of a chair a few feet from his face. He was lying on his side and hands were holding him there, as well as holding an oxygen mask over his mouth and nose. He jerked slightly back to awareness and Dr. Leng leaned into view.

"Can you hear me, Leon?" She asked, the rest of her body connected to the hand holding the mask against his face.

He coughed once and moved his face out of the plastic. "M'fine."

"You collapsed and had a seizure." She said.

He looked at her for a moment. "No, I didn't." He started to get an elbow under himself.

Cloud, who had been behind him, gripped his other arm. "Yeah, pretty sure you did."

Leon grumbled something but let Cloud help him sit up while Dr. Leng checked him over.

"There are numerous toxins that were released after the earthquake." Dr. Leng said. "You probably inhaled some of them. Are you having any difficulty breathing?"

Leon inhaled and shook his head, feeling nauseas. "No…Would toxins cause hallucinations?"

She blinked, "Have you been experiencing hallucinations?"

The monitors around Tifa's bed began to scream and Dr. Leng scrambled to her feet, crossing over to her bedside. "She's coding…I need a crash cart in here!"

A team of uniformed medical personnel began to bustle in and Cloud shifted, pulling one of Leon's arms over his shoulders. "Up and at 'em." He urged.

Leon found his legs and fought the vertigo as he stood up with Cloud. They both maneuvered out of the way as the nurses swarmed over Tifa, babbling medical jargon at each other at lightning speed as they tried to find out what was wrong.

Dr. Leng grabbed up two paddles. "Charging."

"What happened—" Leon started.

"I have no idea." Cloud responded, the blood draining from his face. "She was stable just a few seconds ago."

"They need to be out of here." Dr. Leng was telling a nurse, who promptly walked over to Leon and Cloud. "Clear!"

Leon numbly let the nurse shuffle both him and Cloud out of the room, eyes glued to the paddles that the doctor pressed against Tifa's chest. Her entire body convulsed as the electrical current pushed into her system. Her back arched, but it just lasted a moment. Then she went slack again, and the lines on the monitor remained flatline.

"Charging again." Dr. Leng announced.

The nurses began to manually pump oxygen down Tifa's throat and push needles into her IV lines to try and stabilize her...bring her back.

"Bring her back." He muttered under his breath.

"Cloud! Leon!" Aerith hastened down the hall, pale as a sheet. "What's happening?"

Cloud stepped out of view to talk to her, and Leon remained in the doorway to Tifa's room, feeling completely and utterly helpless for the second time in his life. It was like everything was moving in horrifying slow motion. The team of nurses dashing to and fro, Dr. Leng ordering this and that medication and calling clear again…and again…and then again…

Then everything stopped.

The nurses stopped rushing.

Dr. Leng stopped barking orders.

She stopped calling clear.

She checked her watch, said something to one of the nurses, who wrote it down.

Aerith was crying behind him.

All feeling evaporated around Leon and he just stared, like a zombie, as Dr. Leng looked over to them, pain on her face. She stepped away from the body on the bed and started toward the door. She was about to tell him something…She was about to say something to him that he could never unhear, that he could never fix, that he could never accept.

Reality kicked into overdrive and time resumed its normal pace.

"No." He stepped forward unsteadily. "Don't stop—"

"Leon…" Dr. Leng started.

"You have to fix her." He pushed past the doctor, going to Tifa's side.

"The damage was too extensive." Dr. Leng said apologetically as the nurses stepped away. "She lost too much blood. The infection was too set in…There was nothing we could have done. She's gone."

"Don't say that." He growled at her, half tempted to start CPR on her himself.

"Sir!" McCallister skidded down the hallway, looking half wild.

Leon ignored her, ignored everything, and just looked down at the body on the bed.

This wasn't supposed to happen…None of it…Not after this…not after everything…after EVERYTHING…The universe was just going to take her away? What kind of cruel torture was this? His fists closed at his sides, but the fury was just there to burn. There was no outlet. There was no making this right. There was no fixing this. So he let it burn. God, he prayed for it to boil through him, flay him alive, and just let him die.

Maybe then he wouldn't have to face this.

Dr. Leng swallowed and moved to the other side of the bed, removing the tape on Tifa's face that had held the ventilator in place, brushing her hair aside as she did so. Leon followed her movements dully, feeling both absolutely nothing and at the same time, every inconceivable agony in the world. He had to be dying. It couldn't hurt this badly and not kill him. It just wasn't fair. It wasn't justice. The cosmos had murdered…killed her.

"Sir—" McCallister panted.

"Not now." He hissed, watching Dr. Leng remove the tubes. "Go away."

"Sir, please—"

"Get out, McCallister." He growled at her.

Dr. Leng grimaced and pushed Tifa's hair aside, pulling the vent tube away from her face. A bolt of electricity shot through him then, and it took a moment for him to figure out why.

"This isn't right." He murmured.

"Of course it's not." Dr. Leng remarked gently. "There is no way for us to understand why these things happen. It's not for us to decide right and wro—"

"No, it's not—Wait—" He reached down, brushing her dark hair aside. "What is that?"

Dr. Leng paused, looking uneasily at him and then following his gaze. There was a dark splotch behind her ear that, upon further inspection, looked like a musical treble clef.

"It's a tattoo." The doctor stated.

Leon looked to Dr. Leng. "Tifa doesn't have a tattoo there."

"What?" Cloud said from the doorway next to McCallister.

McCallister.

Leon turned sharply on his heel. "McCallister."

The private looked at him, bug eyed. "Sir."

"What were you going to tell me?" He asked.

Dr. Leng stepped closer to the body. "You're sure? This is a small tattoo. You might just never have noticed—"

Leon exhaled heavily, a buzz ballooning over his skull. He ignored the doctor and kept his eyes on the soldier. "What was it?"

McCallister swallowed hard as all eyes shot to her. "That's not Tifa."

"What are you talking about?" Cloud asked. "I ID'ed her two days ago."

Behind him, Aerith was wiping at her eyes, looking torn between confusion and hysteria.

"She has been completely mangled." McCallister said softly. "She was unrecognizable when she was pulled from the rubble…Broken facial bones, blunt force trauma—"

"Make your point." Leon said impatiently.

McCallister lifted a file. "Pamela Kent." Cloud snatched the file away, opening it, and McCallister kept talking. "Age 26, Caucasian, dark hair, roughly 130 pounds. Allergic to broad spectrum antibiotics. Had a kidney transplant two years ago, been on immunosuppressant drugs ever since."

Dr. Leng straightened, walking over and taking the file from Cloud, who looked over at Leon with disbelief on his face. Leon stood there dumbly, watching Dr. Leng and McCallister.

"This isn't Tifa." He gestured to the body behind him.

McCallister bobbed her head, "Like you said, she doesn't have a tattoo."

Leon felt lightheaded again, "Where is she?"

..:-X-:..

Dislocated hip, broken pelvic bone, mild concussion, broken wrist, and a bruised kidney. Surgery to fix the pelvic bone. Antibiotics. A few hours on a ventilator to keep her airways from swelling shut when she first arrived to the hospital.

Other than that, Tifa was stable.

"We're weaning her off the anesthesia now." Dr. Will Gregory told Leon. "She should wake up in a few minutes."

Leon and the others stood outside the room, in various states of confusion and numbed shock. No one had said anything since McCallister's revelation. What was there to say? Tifa was still alive…but someone else had died…Part of Leon was glad that it was someone else and not Tifa, and another part of him felt sick for thinking that.

"How could I mistake her for someone else?" Cloud broke the silence.

Leon closed his eyes, leaning forward with his palms against the sill of the room window. The blinds had been pulled and Dr. Gregory had just gone back inside to run a few more checks before allowing them inside to see her. Leon felt numb. This emotional roller coaster had simply drained him of everything he had to feel.

"We all thought it was her." Cid said. "Don't beat yourself up."

"She was here…the whole time." Cloud murmured.

"She's going to be fine." Aerith said. "Focus on that. This wasn't anybody's fault. Tifa is going to be okay. A full recovery, that's what Dr. Gregory said."

Leon opened his eyes again, but the blinds were still closed. He was at the end of his tether. If the doctor didn't open the door and let him in within the next two minutes…

McCallister was standing off to the side, arms about herself, eyes downcast to the base of the wall. "I should get back…The rescue teams…need—"

"Commander Highwind." Graham Nestor made his entrance just as Dr. Gregory opened the patient room door.

The group sat up en masse, ignoring Nestor and looking to the doctor.

"She's waking up. She's stable." Dr. Gregory said before they could ask. "She may be groggy at first…and she may not stay awake for long."

"But she's okay?" Cloud asked.

"She's exhausted and will be disoriented, but she should be fine with treatment and physical therapy." Dr. Gregory nodded slowly, "I suggest only two people at most to be with her right now."

Leon straightened, but none of the others moved.

Nestor looked perplexed. "What's going on here?"

"Go ahead." Aerith offered a small smile to Leon. "We'll wait out here."

Leon looked haphazardly to Cloud, who looked almost as past the brink as Leon himself was. The other man looked twitchy for a moment, but he nodded. "She's right."

"Private McCallister, why aren't you at your post?" Nestor sidled up to face the soldier.

Leon walked past the councilman toward the room. Whatever Nestor was complaining about now…It could wait.

"Sir, there was an accident—" McCallister was saying.

"Yes, it's called an earthquake, now why have you been—"

The conversation fell to background and then silence as Leon closed the door after himself, standing in Tifa's room, alone with her.

She was reclined on the bed, propped up by pillows. Brace around her wrist, minor cuts and bruises on her skin. Breathing on her own…He had never realized just how amazing it was to watch her breathe, all on her own, no machines.

He crossed the room to her side, not sure if his legs would hold him up much longer, but willing to risk it. Her face was moving, waking up. Slowly, ever so slowly. It had been half an hour since he thought he watched her die. Now here she was…breathing and everything.

Her eyelids fluttered and opened. Her eyes were out of focus and dull with anesthesia, but she blinked a few times and looked around at her surroundings for a few seconds before finding him and focusing.

"Hey." She murmured, voice weak.

Leon sank to sit on the edge of her bed; his legs refused to take it anymore. "Hey."

Tifa shifted slightly, grimacing as she did so.

"Take it easy." He said, moving his hand to her arm. "You just had surgery."

She looked up at him with half lidded eyes. "How did it go?"

"Great." He replied, something clogging his throat. "Do you remember what happened?"

She eyed him steadily for a long moment, and this time he let her eyes suck him in. He never wanted to escape from this. "The earthquake…a building…aftershock—" Her eyes widened, "The others—"

"Cloud's squad was nearby and got everybody out." He said, sliding his hand up to her neck, holding her jaw tenderly. "Close call."

She leaned her cheek into his touch and lifted her uninjured hand to his wrist. "Are you okay?"

The burning sensation hit the back of his eyes before he could sense it coming. His vision blurred slightly and he blinked furiously, looking away briefly before back to her. She looked mildly alarmed at his behavior.

Leon swallowed hard and then bent forward, kissing her gently on the forehead. Then the temple, the eyebrow, the cheek, and then her lips. She kissed him back before withdrawing.

"You're worrying me. Did I almost—" She started, eyes widening.

"No." You have no idea. "You're going to be fine."

She didn't look convinced, like she knew he wasn't telling her everything. He didn't give into it, and instead just looked back at her, drinking her in.

"Are you okay?" She repeated, her eyes glancing over him for signs of injury.

"Yeah." He kissed her again. "I'm okay."

The other patients in the room were asleep or reading, not paying particular attention to him or Tifa. He preferred it that way. Tifa still looked bewilderedly at him. He should say something…Dammit, he had never been good with words, but he felt like he should say something to take away that utterly perplexed look on her face. So he said the only thing that came to mind.

"I love you."

The haze of the drugs and the pain killers still lingered in her eyes, but they opened considerably at those three little words. Those words that neither of them had yet said to each other. He realized she probably wouldn't remain awake for much longer because of the trauma and the drugs, as much as he wanted her to.

"Leon—" She said slowly.

"I know—I'm sorry, I know you just woke up…but—"

Tifa reached up and placed one hand against the side of his head, sitting up slightly and interrupting him by pressing her lips to his. It was a tired, fading kiss, and when her eyes drifted closed with it, he knew the medication was stealing her away to sleep again.

The kiss was brief, and as it drew to a close, Tifa eased back onto the pillows and exhaled easily. She started to mumble as she fell asleep.

"—ve you too."

Leon made sure she was comfortable and then settled into a chair. "I'll be here when you wake up."

..:-X-:..

A/N: There you have it folks!

I'd like to give a big Thank You, a hug, and super special awesome potato casserole to all the awesome reviewers who took the time to stick with my little collection here: WishingDreamer5, AThousandSuns, Mr. Omelette, Kiss of the Breeze, Colorslander, justagirl8225, The Sacred and Profane, Lett, kikofreako, shynsei, Eva Von Dee, raiko. EXE, Handwritten, The Glaistig, Atramentous Love, ShinobiMatt, Beauty and the Freak, ilovefetamorethanyou, and XxOoSolanaSkylarXxOo!

Even though this collection has wrapped up, my full length Lefa story is up and going, called As the Sun Sets on Mushroom Clouds. Stop by there for some more LeonTifa. And I'm always on the lookout for more Lefa to read, so if anybody finds any LeonTifa stories or want to read some written by others, check out my community called Matters of the Hart.

Thanks again for reading!