Parallel World: Of Dreams, Of Fantasy


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"Morning…"

The hero of Gaia, the broken man from Nibelheim, the father of Seventh Heaven, Cloud Strife. Tiny slivers of sunlight danced lithely on his peaceful face, erasing the dark circles of yesterday's tedious work as if he was healing in his wake. Slowly, with the slightest hint of excitement, wary eyes peeped at the new dawn. That's right, he was no longer hiding in the shadows of the past, he's now living in the present where everyone else is. To live his life, that at least he can do for them.

Silk sheets slipped off him like water as he unravelled himself from his comfortable slumber. Of course he had to fix his mess afterward; he didn't want to bother her any more than he should. Like any morning, he had his rituals. He took a shower, the cold water pricking his skin as if pinching him awake. He got dressed, gladly praising the warmth his familiar garments brought to him. He went to fix his deliveries, casting a swift shadow on his trail. His hand, still heavy from sleep, languidly held the lonesome doorknob with the slightest bit of disappointment of working again and leaving them. Quickly, he chased the thought away. It had to be done and with that he turned the metal knob. It clicked. However, strangely enough his office was locked. And so he tried to pry it open again. It clanked a bit yet overall unfazed. A little befuddled, he thought he would just ask her before going. So he then resumed his stride downstairs. The wonderful aroma of breakfast fumed his senses as he paused to hungrily drink in as much as he could to imagine the morsels. But imagination would not fill his deprived stomach and so on he went. Wooden steps creaked as they carried the weight of the eager hunting adult. As his hunger grew so did his gait and soon enough he was already in the dainty kitchen. And as a part of his morning rituals, his heart got its exercise. There she was. Always there. The one constant in his life. Tifa.

Tifa Lockhart, childhood friend, lifelong love, his Tifa. She was cooking, her long elegant soft dark hair framing her perfect smiling face and the trickling rays of sunlight gave her that morning glow she always wears gracefully. At the moment she felt his presence she turned to him and beamed, it was a genuine smile only for him which made him feel all the more blissful. At mornings, they couldn't talk much or sometimes they wouldn't talk at all. Even if there was no speech, they'd always have a conversation just between the two of them. After all, words aren't the only way to tell someone how you feel.

Her cheeky smile, "You're up early."

His slight twitch of the lips, "Aren't I always?"

A nod. "I guess."

A quick scan of the place. "Where are the kids?"

Her melodious hum. "Don't worry. They're with Barret."

His relieved sigh. "I see."

By that time, Cloud would usually opt to meekly compliment Tifa but ordinarily fail to do so because at the moment he musters up the necessary courage he easily gulps it down after. He had the worse sense of timing for by the end of their usual conversation Tifa would be done cooking and has already set the table. Unknowingly to Tifa, Cloud was blushing furiously at his own embarrassment. They always had breakfast together, it was a given. It was more than just getting their daily nourishment, well, it was something like that but beyond the nutritional value. At the table they would continue their chat and if the children were there they would verbally banter. It was at the table that they would become kids and the kids would become the adults. But it was just the two of them, together but not alone. Somehow it felt nice. Cloud believed he always felt nice around Tifa. Today was no exception.

"By the way, you've been called to the church."

"The church?" He raised an eyebrow.

"What's with that face-" She tried but failed to suppress her bubbly giggles, "It's just the usual." She compensated with a smile to contain her laughter.

"The usual…" His brows knitted further as he thought hard as to what she was talking about. Just how would that fit in his schedule, he still had to do the deliveries. "Wait, what about work?" They were already cleaning after.

"What's with you today, seriously. " She teased with mirth and planted a brief sweet kiss on his cheek, "Keep it up, you look cuter confused."

"Umm… Yeah…" He was beet red at her playful actions; he was still floating in euphoria to think clearly and settled with letting the topic go. Clearly, he couldn't think the same with Tifa in his head.

They continued like this for a while. The two of them enjoying each other's company and stretching as much of the time as they could. But Cloud had to leave and as soon as the thought came through his mind he did so before it dissipated into his non-achievements.

"I'm going." He bade goodbye to Tifa and hastily kissed her on the forehead resulting in him flushed and her delighted. It was his first bold move. Before he could even catch a glimpse of her reaction he was already on his heels turned and walking away.

His bashful retreat. "I'll come back. I promise."

Her soft face. "I know."

"You be careful." She grinned then waved, "Tell them I said hi!"

Cloud looked back to her smiling face still astonished that he did that. Him, Cloud Strife made Tifa Lockhart smile. He was grinning himself beneath the layers of flushness. Something glistened as she waved, something sparkled in her hand, something he missed. Is that a- But he never got to check his suspicions as he got on his prized bike and hit the road.

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Shinra-ex-SOLDIER

You've had your share of nightmares, now it is time for you to dream.