A/N: Half sick, half asleep, just after lunch I went to sleep... and I had a dream. I woke up and this is what I've made of it. (Yeah, I have very strange dreams)

Disclaimer: LadyTeefStrife doesn't own anything.


Title: Seventh Hell.

..

The cold breeze coming from her bedroom window made Tifa stir in her sleep, the small movement woke her enough to realize that the room was darker than usual. Discarding the bad feeling slowly growing within her, she turned around and tried to go back to sleep.

A bit more than two years ago, and she would have woken up to a starlit sky, or the top of a tent. Hard floors beneath her and friends around, all covered with the few blankets they could carry on their journey, and a familiar shadow nearby.

He always took the first watch for them, and usually, the second and the third too. He used to claim that sleeping in an inn "made the girls happy", and it was true. After all it was only in those moments when she could be sure he had a proper rest.

He always put others before himself, being a silent guardian for the whole group. And a knight too.

"A broken knight for a broken princess." She thought, and that simple thought, made her heart ache. He wasn't so broken anymore, and she certainly wasn't a princess. Pink, and soft skin took that role a long time ago.

It was fine, really. She was happy. Denzel and Marlene were like her own children, and their foster father seemed to have come back to his senses, the silent knight had grown to be the guardian of their household.

Tifa opened her eyes and sat on her bed. Everything was pitch black except for some light coming from the door. Looking at her window didn't help either, somehow it seemed to be the darkest place of her room instead of letting the moonlight lighten the alcove.

Her eyes adjusted to the dark environment and she could recognize her bedroom, but to her right, everything seem to be a black void.

Needing to be sure that everything was alright, she got up, planning to check the kids' room. But as she took a step forward, she tripped to the floor. Looking at herself revealed what seemed to be a prom dress, the voluminous skirt made her feel clumsy. Gathering as much fabric as she could in her arms, Tifa got up and reached her bedroom door.

Opening it didn't make her feel any better. The usual corridor had been replaced by a hall, gold decorations and blue velvet replaced painted concrete and planks of wood, and as she looked around, the only source of light in the room drew her attention. Still not trusting her ability to walk with such a garment and... high heels, it seemed, she kept the fabric out of the way with her arms and approached the left wall of the room.

Surrounded by a candle at each side was a full length mirror, and as she stood in front of it, her hands dropped to her sides. Tifa's eyes widened at the sight of herself. A long dress, long gloves, and long hair styled with some little gems forming a crown around her head, she looked like a fairy tale princess. She looked around, everything seemed to be out of one of Marlene's old bed time stories. Or from one of Denzel's, Tifa thought as she remembered the pitch black from her room.

A flash of chestnut-colored hair made her eyes turn to the mirror, and for a brief second, she thought she saw green eyes staring back at her. Convinced that she had to be dreaming, Tifa stared at the mirror, waiting for the moment she would wake up and anticipating the awe in Marlene's face when she told her about the strange dream and the pretty dress, and how she would ask for her to-

Except... it felt too real to be a dream.

She looked at herself in the mirror, the formerly white and pink dress seemed to have some red spots, as if something was staining it. Frozen to the spot, she kept looking as slowly, the red spots grew in number and size, making the whole dress look red except for one thin, white line crossing her chest.

As she blinked, the mirror's reflection changed, showing her someone else in the same dress. Startled, Tifa looked at herself. White and pink instead of red painted the dress except for a thin, red line crossing her own chest, like a counterpart of the image in the mirror. Her eyes turned to the reflection, chestnut-hair and green eyes staring back at her, the girl dressed in a deep red-colored dress.

Tifa tried to move, get away from the ghost-like image, but her feet seemed to be held in place and she fell forward. Stopping the fall with her hands and feeling someone observing her, she raised her head.

The image in the mirror hadn't changed with her, the girl on the other side was still standing and had turned her head to Tifa's, green-piercing eyes staring back at her. Tension and anxiousness building inside of her, Tifa felt like screaming. Only then, the girl in red turned her head away and seemed to focus on something just before her.

Feeling that whatever had prevented her feet from moving before had let her go, Tifa leapt to her feet and hurried to the other side of the hall, leaving her room and the image of her long departed friend behind.

Finally crossing the door, she closed it and leaned against it, giving herself a moment to calm down. Taking off the impractical shoes and ripping part of the skirt of the dress made her feel less restricted, less foolish, and with that, a self-assurance that she would wake up soon.

Looking around, she found herself on a strange version of the second floor of her home. The stairs going to the bar area was on her left, and the kids' room was in front of her to her right. Before she could think, she was running towards it.

Opening the door, she saw the beds and a bulk on each of them. Not trusting her sight, she took a few steps forward, touching Denzel's bed and expecting to feel the warmth from under the covers. As her hand arrived at the top of the bed, raw fear washed over her. Taking the covers aside revealed her foster son, sleeping. But not moving. Not even the natural rise and fall from breathing.

Fear and panic ran through her, Tifa took Marlene's covers aside too, revealing the sleeping form of the little girl. Tifa checked for a pulse, any sign that they were alive, but found none. With her heart racing, she blinked away the tears and looked at them again. They were cold... stone cold?

She found herself running again in a new place. She distinctly remembered the layout of the new room, it seemed to be the second floor of the Shinra Manor, but as before, some things didn't match. Every door she opened lead to a bedroom, with one of her old teammates turned into stone in their sleep. Cid had been the first, Red, Reeve and Cait, Vincent, Yuffie, Barret...

Only one was left.

She stood still, knowing she had checked every single room, and waited for the last room to appear. Like a charm, a corridor appeared to her right.

Not wasting time with the doors at every side, she ran to the last door, one she already knew too well. Pushing the door aside, she made her way in.

But she didn't find her broken knight.

Instead of Cloud's office, she found another bedroom. A queen-sized bed, highly decorative furniture, and on one of the corners of the room, what seemed to be a replica of the Solar System and in the middle of it, a strange chair with a red button on one of its arms. Somehow, she knew what was going to happen. She knew the chair would rise and let her see through the observatory-like ceiling.

Not doubting herself, she sat on the chair. As she prepared herself to raise the chair towards the device, she saw around her the statues of her friends, only then realising the lack of color on them. They all seemed to be smiling at her, and as she felt one touch her back, the chair rose towards the ceiling.

As she touched the device, she found herself back in the hall with the mirror, the room somehow brighter, but the image remained unchanged. Her friend's eyes remained fixed on the wall in front of the mirror, but as Tifa looked towards it, she saw nothing but darkness.

She approached the mirror, tempted to touch her friend's ghostly image. "I don't understand..." Tifa sighed and closed her eyes.

When she opened them, she found herself with her back towards the mirror and facing another statue, the darkness in front of her surrounded it. Just when she was turning around, something pushed her forward, and following the strange signal, she walked towards the black-haired man's replica.

Just when she was at arm's length of the statue and everything around her was about to be filled with that strange dark void, a wall with a window appeared in front of Tifa. She looked straight ahead through it, the only thing visible, a white sky and grey rubble.

Tifa stood in front of it, looking through the glass. She remembered this layout too, the way the rubble was half standing reminded her of Midgar, but everything was grey. The way the remaining walls of the buildings ahead of her were standing reminded her of...

As she looked down, a mocking grin stared back at her.

Sorrow and pain suddenly ran through her, the burning and chaos, the fury and revenge, the blood...

"Now you are the princess you always wanted to be." Silver hair and a mocking grin reminded her. "A princess in a palace of death."

Tifa's eyes widened and a stream of tears ran down her cheek.

Her friends, her family...

The dark haired girl turned around and watched in horror as stone replaced the blue and gold of her knight.


A/N: After almost a month of bad dreams and nightmares, or simply really weird dreams, this is the result of remembering every single detail of my last really weird dream. Though mine it involved a wedding, evil nuns, angels, demons, elemental powers, a whole kingdom, and instead of statues, what I found was... dogs sleeping on beds. And what touched me in the chair was a snake D:

See? Very weird dreams.

07/01/2011 (side note: one of the possible titles for this fic was "D: wth?" and by the way, a writer's block is a fearsome enemy)