A/N: I have only one thing to say... I am shocked and astounded that I was able to write this! Sorry if it sounds like I'm bragging; I'm just really satisfied with this and proud of myself. ^^

Well, read and let me know what YOU think of it! I always love it when people enjoy my work, and I also appreciate a well-written review. =)


Oh! One last thing: I STRONGLY recommend listening to "Love Song Requiem" by Trading Yesterday while reading this. It is the song that inspired me (I listened to ONLY that song while typing this lol), and I think it just makes the whole piece seem so much more beautiful.

Soft kisses trailing up Tifa's shoulder prompted an equally soft whimper from aforementioned young woman from her vulnerable faceup position on the full-sized mattress. She intertwined her fingers with the soft strands comprising the spikes of Cloud's hair and tugged ever so lightly, letting him know he was doing something right. Reassurance: something the insecure man desperately needed after everything he had been through. Cloud wasn't an easily broken man, but then again, it wasn't exactly easy to break someone who was already broken. Cloud had become broken, was still nothing but broken shards of the more exuberant boy he once was years ago… Such long years ago… Even with others who he could call his friends to stand beside him, he found it so hard to open the iron maiden he been trapped within, to let them see the tortured truth of his soul. Finally, finally, he was beginning to come together again. And out of everyone, he had Tifa to thank for that…

When he felt sorrow beyond sadness, Tifa had been there to lend him her shoulder; when he felt fury beyond anger, she calmed him with her smile, or perhaps even with her warm embrace; when he felt agony beyond pain, she had always offered the soothing salve of her presence… She had always been there for him, had always stuck by his side… had loved him, still loved him. Now it was up to Cloud to return the favor. He held Tifa so dear to his heart—she was the one thing he could always count on. She was the mighty oak that cradled him lovingly in her branches, the gentle wind that whispered eternal promises of, "I'll always be by your side…." and "You're never alone…", and the blazing fire that fueled his will to live, not for anyone else. Just for the two of them. He wanted to give Tifa all she had given him and more, everything. Cloud's lips played upon the tender skin of the juncture of Tifa's neck momentarily before he slowly settled his lips there and graced it with open-mouthed kisses. She caressed the fingers of one hand through his locks and this time let out a breathy moan, once again reassuring him that he was doing well, persuading him to continue.

Cloud closed his eyes and went a small step further by suckling and nipping—just a little—at the skin, slowly losing himself in Tifa's satisfaction, taking his own pleasure from it. Tifa in turn closed her own eyes, relishing in the small bliss, but enjoyable as it was… it… it just wasn't enough. Her eyes fluttered half open and she decided to give Cloud a small nudge. "Cloud," she breathed, "… More…" and he understood. He took his hands, which were stroking lovely yet insignificant patterns onto Tifa's shoulders, and skimmed his fingers—almost naught but a balmy breeze amidst her flesh—across to her collarbone. After a brief moment's hesitation, his fingers jumped from her collarbone to zipper of her leather top. He gripped the metal piece between two digits and slowly, too slowly, dragged it down the track. The rasp seemed so much louder than it should have been; it was driving Tifa insane.

"Cloud!" she prompted with an expression holding the beginnings of desperation, clenching the slender fingers of both hands into his hair, tighter than before, but not quite enough to trigger a pain response. Cloud chuckled lightly—a soft-spoken melody that made her heart leap, considering its absurd rarity—into the reddening skin where had focused his previous attentions.

"I want to take my time with this. I… want to show you how much I love you, the way I should have; the way I never did…" he murmured wistfully. He pressed a single chaste kiss against the angry brand he left on her skin before moving to brush his lips against the shell of her ear, "… Will you let me…?" The whispered question held so much; his nervousness, his love for her… his fear. Tifa was silent, but she ceased her grip on Cloud's hair and shifted her hands to tenderly cup his lower jaw with them. Just one of the things that Cloud loved so much about Tifa; she could be so rough and tumble, but she still had the capability to be so delicate with her touches, pouring emotion into the contact instead of sheer physical strength. Cloud looked into her eyes, seeing everything Tifa couldn't put into words—words wouldn't be enough to convey her feelings, would be insignificant in baring her soul to him—and found the will within himself to smile a porcelain smile, so alluring yet so delicate. Though she willed them away—albeit weakly—Tifa couldn't resist the tears raining from her eyes and before Cloud could question if he had failed her in some way—as he often felt he did—she touched her lips to his. The contact was so light. They broke apart for a second or two before rejoining with more fervor. Cloud's lips glided against Tifa's, and hers against his. Again, Tifa decided to take the initiative, to encourage Cloud, and gently prodded his lips with her tongue, asking for invitation. He accepted and welcomed her behind his lips. Cloud tentatively touched the textured fuchsia flesh with his own, prodding it experimentally at first. Soon after, his inhibitions dissipated and he intertwined his tongue with Tifa's in an elaborate serpentine dance. Tifa moaned— louder than the first time, but no less rousingly than before—feeling tiny bursts of pleasure in her abdomen, dripping down to pool at her very core.

She once more wove the fingers of one hand between pale blond spikes, but searched with the other for the zipper to Cloud's sweater. She almost immediately found what she sought and tormented him in the same way he did to her, lackadaisically unzipping the garment. In turn, Cloud surrounded Tifa's waist with his left arm and rapidly finished unzipping her top, releasing the wicked hold his lips had over hers to look into her eyes once more while pushing the leather article of clothing down her shoulders. When Tifa had done the same with his clothing and leather pauldron, he grasped the bottom hem of her white undershirt and stroked the fabric—quickly noticing her lack of a brassiere—asking for permission to continue, to wade further into unknown waters. "Do it." she tempted quietly. And so the sinner sinned once more, accepting the she-devil's invitation and falling into the shadow.

Tifa turned her head away, a touch of light crimson adorning her cheeks just underneath her eyes, her nerves suddenly binding her. "Tifa. Look at me." Cloud commanded kindly, not quite demanding, more like requesting, begging. Tifa squeezed her eyes shut in response. "Tifa," he said again, a touch more softly, "They're beautiful." He lightly, very lightly trailed his fingers across a breast. He caressed the tip, feeling it stiffen beneath his fingertips. Ever the stubborn woman she was, Tifa kept her head turned and squeezed her eyes more firmly shut, her lips a thin line, suppressing the beautiful sounds Cloud wanted to hear, needed to hear. He, in an attempt to release these noises, found an unusual burst of bravery and boldness within himself that he didn't even know existed and, while continuing his ministrations upon Tifa's breast, placed the fingers of his other hand onto the fabric of her shorts on her upper inner thigh. He ran them upwards so slowly and softly that Tifa couldn't even discern the movements as Cloud caressed her nipple. When he reached the center of her thighs, he softly rubbed her already pulsing bud through her knee length shorts.

Tifa finally relented, her eyes shooting open, her jaw dropping, heavily pleasured whimpers and moans pouring out in a steady stream; a private concert meant only for Cloud to witness. His wondrous touch on her chest and the unexpected pleasurable shock down below flooded her bloodstream with an acidic cocktail of burning love and lust, scorching her veins, scalding her arteries… and she was enjoying every bit of it, perceptions of time be damned. There were no minutes, no seconds, no hours or years or any of those insignificances. All that subsisted was he and she and the personal Xanadu in which only they existed. "I'm so close…!" she breathed desperately, "Please don't stop!"

"I won't stop… I'll never stop…" Cloud soothed—his windlike voice tender and loving—burying his face into the crook of her neck in a comforting gesture and inhaling her unique scent mixed with chlorinated water and his body wash from that morning's shower. Such seemingly simple words. But they meant so much more

I'll never stop being with you…

I'll never stop staying by your side…

I'll never stop taking care of you…

I'll never stop loving you…

That was something that Tifa needed, for like Cloud, she was needy. She had been so patient. She just could never bring herself to be the one to admit her feelings for the man who had at one point lost himself. It had been up to Cloud to initiate something, to just let her know that he returned her feelings; that he wasn't a lost cause. He never did. It took a combined effort, a tag team of the two of them to get to where they were that very moment. This was what Tifa had waited years for. This was what Tifa needed to become complete, to suture closed the abyss existing in her soul. She had always felt empty inside after Cloud had left to become—or at least try to become—a SOLDIER. She never knew why. They hadn't known each other for long and they hardly knew each other. So why? It took countless hours, minutes, seconds of wondering, and it all culminated into a single conclusion. It didn't matter. Their love had been set in stone for Goddess-knows how long, had been written in the stars with seraphic flame, had been foretold to the Lifestream long before their existence came to be. Perhaps even longer than that; perhaps before their parents even came to be. Who knew? All that mattered was them and their love. Nothing more, nothing less.

Tifa's hands shot to his upper arms and sharply tugged him closer, lifting her head so she could bite hard into the skin of his shoulder, muffling her screams when the tsunami came to pass, washing her away to Eden though the riptides slowly brought her back to Earthly shores; the screams became sobs and then moans that became whimpers which eventually lapsed into heavy breathing until that too morphed into silence. She wasn't satisfied, couldn't be satisfied unless Cloud followed her in Nirvanic bliss, unless they were swept away together. "… You okay?" Cloud mumbled, moving some to survey Tifa's expression—happy, yet sad and yearning. Was he truly incapable of satisfying the woman he loved and depended on? "I'm sorry. Dammit… I… I just can't do anything right, can I?" Cloud said scornfully, casting his self-deprecating glance at the speckled comforter, wrinkled from their movements.

"No, Cloud, no… You did nothing wrong." Tifa cooed.

"Then why do you look so-"

"Because I felt lonely."

Cloud's eyes shot wide open. "I… It was wonderful, but," Tifa bit her lower lip, "it wasn't… perfect. It wasn't perfect… because I got there alone… I want you to come with me." Tifa whispered, lips quirking upward a tad at her double entendre. Cloud couldn't help but be infected by her contagious smirk.

"You want me to get Fenrir ready?" he quipped.

"No." she giggled, "We're going to climb there, just the two of us." Tifa flashed him her beautiful kind smile.

Cloud smiled and unfastened Tifa's shorts, removing them and her surprisingly plain powder blue panties from her slim, toned legs, conditioned from the many, many battles she and he and their companions had fought and the long days and nights spent traveling. Already past her earlier shyness, Tifa unbuckled Cloud's somewhat baggy pants and, grasping the edge of both them and his boxers, slid them down his lithely muscled legs. Footwear long since discarded to some forgotten corner of the bedroom, Cloud teasingly pulled off his gloves—eliciting the tantalizing sight of Tifa biting her lower lip again; oh, how Cloud adored that little habit of hers—before rising to his hands and knees and crawling over her. "It looks kind of painful." Tifa commented offhandedly, viewing his admittedly satisfyingly large stiffened member throb every so often, "… Is it?"

Cloud couldn't help but chuckle. He had expected Tifa to get butterflies in her stomach again and ponder aloud if it would fit. Worrying about others before herself; typical Tifa. "Not much. Just uncomfortable mostly." he responded nonchalantly, like it really didn't matter. Truth be told, it did matter. He wanted to claim—no—not claim her; Cloud wanted to give himself to Tifa and to receive what she would offer.

"Then let me take care of you." Tifa offered, love and adoration in her eyes edged with lust.

"I love you, Tifa," Tifa's eyes shot open, much like Cloud's did not too long ago; knowing him, she didn't expect to hear those desired words so soon, "and… thank you for loving me back." he said quietly, almost inaudibly before letting himself slowly enter her, letting her feel him become a part of her. Tifa moaned and Cloud reciprocated. Tifa closed her eyes and whimpered with each forward thrust and every scrape of his flesh against sacred vulnerability, "Oh Goddess, Cloud!" she whined, "I love you too." She moaned for what seemed like the… Oh, who was she kidding? She wasn't even keeping count. The beautiful song increased in octave and in volume with each push and pull, each ebb and flow. Then she temporarily silenced it with her mouth kissing and sucking at Cloud's Adam's apple. "Tifa…" Cloud groaned. He could feel his muscles straining and stiffening and a soft throb that quickly became harsher, complete and absolute bliss beginning to collect within his lower abdomen, one that easily overshadowed the pleasure he felt making love to Tifa. But knowing her exact feelings—and knowing that she knew his—made the imminent beautiful collapse even stronger. Cloud could feel his lover's muscles quiver around him in sympathy with his oncoming climax.

In a single moment, scant, insignificant units of time of some sort after it began, everything burst free of the chains holding it back. Understandings were made, unknown bonds were established… and fates were sealed with a shout of her name and a scream of his. They were in Eden once more, and at least for the moment, they were there to stay—together. Their voices and hearts echoed each other for some time, appreciating each other, how their very essences caressed each other… appreciating how their souls intertwined.

Cloud, panting for breath, lifted himself a bit from Tifa's sweat-slick body and in response to the forlorn look in her eyes that begged him to stay within her for at least a little while longer, he merely turned them both onto their sides, facing each other, the established connection remaining. Cloud grasped blindly for the covers, then sloppily draped them over their nude forms. They shared a chaste kiss. "Good thing Cid has the kids for the week." Tifa lilted softly.

"Heh. Lucky us." Cloud said.

And then, words were no longer needed for the time being. Everything they wanted to say could be seen in their eyes. The look in Tifa's eyes asked, "Will you always love me…?"

And as Cloud ran his fingers through Tifa's dark chocolate locks, his eyes responded, and there was no questioning the reply.