Author's Note: Okie everyone! Here is the long awaited eighth chapter of 'The Reckless Desire'! We want to thank you or keeping in tune with the story and thank you so much for your support and patience! This wonderful chapter was written by the gorgeous Nara and I think she did an AMAZING job! I've certainly got my work cut out for me with this next chapter! We really hope you guys enjoy this chapter and hope you'll stay tuned for chapter IX, which will be written by myself! Please REVIEW! **Disclaimer: we own nothing but the storyline and the character of Ajax ENJOY!
This wonderful chapter was written by the gorgeous Nara and I think she did an AMAZING job! I've certainly got my work cut out for me with this next chapter!
We really hope you guys enjoy this chapter and hope you'll stay tuned for chapter IX, which will be written by myself! Please REVIEW!
**Disclaimer: we own nothing but the storyline and the character of Ajax
The sky was becoming brighter as the light peeked through the thin aqua nets. The warm smell of sweet fruit and musky perfume filled Tifa's lungs with images of last night playing in her mind. Her eyes closed and an excited yet, slightly tired smile lit up her face. The smile faded when the thought of it all being a dream haunted her, her eyes fluttered open and her surroundings came to vision. She felt a warm, strong, muscular form embracing her and she smiled gently. Both lay with nothing but a navy-blue sheet over them.
'It wasn't a dream' she thought to herself, pleased and turned her head slightly to the right to come face to face with her lover.
Cloud lay on his stomach, hugging Tifa tightly and his face inches away from hers, gently breathing. Tifa watched him sleep. He looked so peaceful, for the first time, not fighting or thinking of anything; just resting in silence. 'Even in his sleep he's protecting me' she smiled.
A soft warm orange colour flooded the room. She shuffled her arm out gently and stroked his soft skin from his shoulder blades to his waist. Her hand glided on his soft form. Tifa looked over to the balcony as she watched the sunrise, she had a beautiful view just from her bed.
"Watching the sunrise without me?" Cloud's husky voice vibrated through Tifa's body, sending her a sensation of chills. She held his toned ribs and quickly turned to face him and couldn't help but blush.
"Good morning..." She said sleepily and smiled, her ruby eyes reflecting the vibrant colours of the sunrise She looked so beautiful and angelic and her skin looked more vibrant and held a warmer glow than usual.
"Morning." he responded and leaned over to kiss her soft lips.
They both sat cuddled up together watching the sunrise from the bed.
"Every morning, I watch the sunrise and it's always so beautiful, but today it seems like it's the best sunrise I've ever watched" she nuzzled her face in his neck, causing him to chuckle.
"To think, you have this view from your bed, I have to climb a mountain to get this kind of view" Tifa turned to her side, still sitting between Cloud's legs and tilted her head to rest on his chest.
"This whole time we have been watching the same sun, the same moon and we didn't even know each other. The beauty of the sun and mood was captivating, but every time I would get lost in this feeling, I wasn't sure what it was, but now I know.. It was a connection to you" Cloud kissed her forehead and hugged her close, listening to her calm, velvety voice.
"Teef.. I've changed so much since I met you, I'm not a "robot", I finally learned to think for myself and unlock feelings I never knew existed.. Do you think she.. uh nah." He shook his head, and brushed his spikes with his hand, Tifa narrowed her brows.
"She?" she turned her head a little "your mother?" she asked, her voice so subtle and gentle. "Cloud I bet your mother is with you every single day, so proud of you" she said in comfort.
"Proud? Teef, I'm a monster.." He sighed sounding disgusted in himself.
"Cloud" she turned fully to face him, getting all his attention. She sat up on her knees and cupped his face, locking there eyes together. "You are not a monster, those tests your father put you through was not your fault, you didn't even have a choice, you developed with it- forget you even adapting to it and I don't care what anyone says, last night proved to me just how much of a beautiful human you really are.." Cloud stared up at Tifa.
"You always know what to say." he smiled.
She closed the distance between them, leaning down, she brushed her lips with his and captured his lips in a passionate kiss. Both seemed to have forgotten all about the situation and enjoyed the moment; entirely lost in each other.
The morning was still young, Cloud walked out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around his waist, displaying his well-defined upper body, still heavily beaded with water. He walked over to the edge of the bed as Tifa just finished changing the sheets, placing the silver, silky and gray husky cushions down.
"I gave your clothes a quick wash, they should be dry soon." She smiled and blushed at the sight. Despite their ministrations the previous night, staring at him so exposed, still left her with a pretty pink blush on her cheeks.
Her hair, still damp, she went over to Cloud and with a towel she started drying his blond spikes, at first Cloud laughed and then thought of what he missed out on when he was a child. He could imagine his mother in front of him. Without a thought, he hugged Tifa's waist tightly. Startling her she stopped drying his hair as he buried his face in her tummy. Tifa stroked Cloud's head in comfort. After a peaceful moment, he eased the hug and held the sides of her hips; looking up at her with those aqua orbs and it was as though Tifa knew exactly what Cloud was thinking without having him say a word.
'He missed his mother' a warm feeling rushed through her being as she came to the realization that she was the reason he thought of his mother.
Tifa walked out through the front door, her hair straight and out, she wore a washed out , three quarter sleeved waist coat- denim jacket on top of a white hooded fleece with various wrist bands on her right arm. A washed out black denim black mini skirt hugged her hips, her long legs looked nice and toned with the black and white Converse wedges. Cloud closed the front door and began walking side by side with Tifa. The villagers had a bright smile when they saw Tifa, but once Cloud came to vision, a confused look painted their expressions. Cloud noticed the villagers all looking and grasped Tifa's hand in a tight hold and a rush of comfort washed away the tension.
Tifa leaned over to Cloud "Everyone's looking.." Tifa whispered.
"Let them, we have bigger things to worry about!" Cloud said firmly, glancing over at the villagers then back at Tifa and noticed how scared she was. He realized he sounded harsh and tightened the hold of her hand. "I'm right here Teef". Cloud's wrist bore the mark of a Delian soldier, it was in clear vision. The crowd of villagers began to mutter and follow the couple, with their eyes fixated on them.
Tifa was anything but a common Lydian; she was the daughter of Zangan and news traveled fast when it came to her whereabouts. Before they could enter the hideout, Lydian soldiers surrounded them; closing them in and making them stop in their tracks.
"Tifa, stay close to me" Cloud spoke in a low tone scanning there surrounding.
"Let me through!" Tifa narrowed her brows, sounding angry, her own people turning against her made her feel betrayed.
"I'm sorry, Miss Lockheart, Master Zangan has ordered a city lock down" one of the soldiers spoke.
"Where is my father?!" Tifa spoke with a piercing stare.
There was no response save for small mutters in the crowd. A soldier broke an attack towards Cloud; aiming a sword at his ribs, but he dodged causing the soldier stumble.
"Stop it!" Tifa yelled and stood in front of Cloud, guarding him.
One of the soldiers made a swift attack from behind with two, large daggers.
"CLOUD! WATCH OUT!" a familiar voice yelled out, Zack burst in through the circle of Lydian soldiers; grabbing the soldier from the back and tossing him aside.
"I got your back." Zack winked with a proud smirk while resting his gargantuan sword atop his left shoulder guard.
"Zack? How did you get in? The city is on lock down." Tifa asked confused as she herself helped plan block all entrances to the city and knew the high level of security Lydia had in place.
"I was already in the city" he scratched the back of his spiky head, "Question is what the hell are you two doing?" he looked back and forth at Cloud and Tifa; his gaze shifting downward at there linked hands. His violet orbs widened at a sudden realization. "Are you two-"
"Look out!" Tifa yelled as the soldiers broke attack. The soldiers heeding the threat of now two Delian soldiers. Lydian's knew to take them down on scene and that's what they did.
"Tifa, stay in the middle!" Cloud ordered as he fought off two soldiers trying to swipe his head.
"Are you kidding?! Have you forgotten who I am?!" She moved out between the two and slipped on her black leather gloves."Let me have 'em!" she power punched a soldier causing his head to snap back in a whiplash.
"Whoa Tifa, you know how do some real damage!" Zack said over his shoulder as he had a soldier in a dead-lock.
Cloud elbowed the soldier Zack had in the lock directly into his spine, "You gonna tell us why you were in the City?" Cloud asked gripping another soldier by the neck and punching his stomach.
"Well you know me, wherever I go there's always trouble following me around" he laughed as he thrush kicked another soldier. "But this time I wasn't here on duty. Cloud I have something to tell you.."
Tifa elbowed a solders rib and punched his jaw, "Is this your everyday routine? Seriously, it's like a game for you two" She bent over holding her knees, panting.
Cloud smiled and looked aside to see Tifa, "LOOK OUT!" He dived onto Tifa pushing her out of the way from her head getting whacked by a bat. Cloud hugged Tifa, turning with her so he fell to the ground with her on top of him.
She lifted her head up, their faces inches away, Cloud breathing being steady, but Tifa lay breathless and her cheeks flush pink.
"Thank you." she smiled. Somehow, all the fighting around them didn't seem to scare Tifa. Being in Cloud's arms was all she needed to feel safe 'It's like nothing can hurt me' her heart rate eased as she relaxed.
"You two mind getting up and giving me a hand?!" Zack called as he spin kicked a soldier.
Tifa helped Cloud up but from between the crowd of people she noticed someone familiar approaching and gasped, Cloud noticed Tifa's expression and stood up straight to see what was heading their way.
"STOP!" A strong voice silenced the entire village.
"Shit! We're gonna die!" Zack spoke in a low voice pacing over to Tifa's left side.
Cloud clenched Tifa's right hand tightly; knowing this could be their last moment together.
The crowd of soldiers moved aside; standing up straight to let the group of elite soldiers, heavily armored, make their way through the group of mid level soldiers. Master Zangan looked infuriated; glaring directly into Cloud's eyes as he marched over to the three standing together. He couldn't bare to see Tifa with a Delian. He felt a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach.
"Father.." Tifa spoke with a soft tone, hoping to snap Zangan out of the anger; her attempts falling futile. She knew there was no way her father would accept Cloud.
"Move away!" Zangan ripped Tifa's hand off Cloud's with such force. He reached for Tifa's arm but both Zack and Cloud pulled Tifa behind them and stood as her body guards.
"With all your respect, Master Zangan, we can't let you take Tifa, we have come here to discuss a serious matter" Cloud's husky strong voice challenged Zangan's and by the looks of the elite soldiers they were ready to shred Cloud for raising his voice at Zangan.
"YOU DARE SPEAK TO ME, SON OF AJAX!" Zangan's voice echoed, making everyone's knees quiver.
"Sir, I'm not here to argue or fight-" Cloud eased his tone as he spoke, but Zangan was disgusted by Cloud's presence, he gestured his hand, he didn't have the heart to kill Cloud in front of Tifa but he had to end him, in that split second two elite soldiers pulled out aluminum crossbows and aimed it at Cloud. Finger on the trigger ready to press, Tifa knew these soldiers just do exactly what they are ordered without hesitation, she squeezed through sideways between Zack and Cloud.
"Enough! Father stop this! If you want to hurt Cloud.. you'll have to get through me first!" She stood firmly, shielding Cloud and Zack from her father.
Zangan finally looked at his daughter; his raging anger calmed. He couldn't stay angry at her anymore, her hazel eyes brought warmth to his heart seeing her safe again was a relief and he took a deep breath.
"Tifa, go home.." he finally spoke with ease, "You don't know what you're getting yourself into; don't you remember what I have taught you?" he turned to one of the elite soldiers, "Take Tifa to-"
"I'm not going anywhere!" She gave a dead look at the soldier and turned her gaze back at Zangan, "I know what you taught me father and I would never betray you.. You brought me up to make good judgment; to protect innocent lives." she tilted her head a little, "A name doesn't make a person.. those were your words. Will you trust my judgment? It would mean the world to me if you accept Cloud but right now I need you to do something for me father.. Cloud has something to say, father please give him a chance." She had never seen Zangan so angry at her and it made her tremble. She reached her hand back to come in contact with Cloud's; his hold reassured of her not being alone and she felt her body easing from the tension.
'How could Tifa fall into these Delian's traps, could she love this boy more than me? Her own father?' Questions racing in Zangan's mind, he had never lost control of Tifa; she was always in his grasp. "For the first time- today Tifa.. I'm disappointed in you." Zangan turned his back to Tifa and the two Delian's.
Tifa felt her throat dry up and like a million knives stabbed her heart, her eyes began to swell up with tears, she wanted to call his name, say she's sorry but no words would come out, she stood frozen.
"Tifa has done nothing wrong! I took her and kept her captive" Cloud stood beside Tifa and put his hand on her shoulder; rubbing it in comfort. "Come on Teef don't cry, you're stronger than this" he whispered so only she could her him. Zangan didn't seem to care what was coming out of Cloud's mouth and began walking.
"I don't agree with what my father is doing" Cloud said firmly sounding angry and slightly pitiful.
Zangan frowned, stopping in his tracks and turned to face Cloud, "You don't agree?" he tilted his head in disbelief, 'is this another trap.. why do I feel he is telling me the truth' he looked at Tifa standing in Cloud's hold, she looked back at him.. 'Tifa, I'm only doing this for you' he tolled himself. He walked over to Tifa, Cloud backed off a little when he saw Zangan's face had a soft expression. He hugged Tifa in a tight hold.
"I'm so glad you're safe" he finally spoke; stroking her soft mahogany hair and letting out a sigh of relief.
"I've missed you father and I'm sorry" She muffled in his hug. Cloud, Zack and the Lydian soldiers watched in silence.
Zangan held Tifa within arms' length and smiled.
"I'll listen" Zangan looked at Cloud and then at Zack "were going to the hide out" he nodded at the soldiers; already well trained for the drill.
Zangan led the group towards the secret meeting point. Tifa walked with Cloud and Zack; the soldiers practically hovering around them to make sure the Delian's didn't dare do anything rash.
They reached a cave surrounded by woodland and rocky mountains, Cloud and Zack looked around for the special hideout they have been looking seven years for. They were disturbed by a rumbling and they could feel the floor beneath them vibrate; with every step it seemed to get stronger.
"Check this out." Tifa winked
"Should we be scared?" Zack gulped.
Before them a Large, gray beast emerged from within the cave
"Diamond Weapon!" Cloud said in disbelieve, watching a myth become reality before his eyes. "Is he real?" he looked aside at Tifa.
"Yes Cloud he's real, Diamond Weapon is Lydia's mighty body guard, he protects our people and furthermore he protects the scared temple." Tifa began to explain more about Lydia to the two Delian's as Master Zangan created a blue lighted orb that led them through the pitch black cave. The Diamond Weapon moved aside allowing the group to enter the cave. Zangan watched Cloud and Zack with an aggressive stare; knowing they were still enemies.
"Easy boy." Tifa said comfortingly as they crossed.
"Whoa and to think we were scared of your father!" Zack said looking back to make sure The beast wouldn't change his mind and decide to kill himself and Cloud.
Cloud and Tifa still holding hands, both looked at each other when one wasn't looking and shyly looked away when the other caught them looking. The blue light looked exactly like the moon lighting and images in Tifa's room played in Cloud's mind. Tifa also thought back to her moments with Cloud in the moon light, his aqua blue eyes were so breathtaking and every time she looked aside at him, she lost sense of what was happening around her.
They reached a dead end. Two large marble doors with silver antique decoration, coming into view. Zangan released the blue glowing orb into the ground and it seem to absorb it. The orb lit a pathway to the double doors. The light gradually traveled up the silver workings turning from silver to a glowing cerulean blue. Once the light reached, the center sounds of millions of locks began to undo and a rumbling began again as the doors parted to reveal the magnificent Lydian Temple.
"You guys are gonna love this" Tifa hugged Cloud's arm and leaned over so Zack could hear her too and she gave them both a soft smile.
The walls were a mixture of stone and marble with blue magic lighting on the sides as they walked in the middle pathway to a large circular hall with ancient pictures and inscriptions. In the middle was a large centerpiece, surrounded by candles, soft petals, scrolls and many different colored magic, glowing orbs. Around the center piece had many doors and marble pillars going around the circular room, the floor looked like water, the patterns decorating the floor were a glowing blue, it was like nothing Cloud and Zack had ever seen in their lives, a magic world that's been kept secret from them their entire lives. They came to a stop when they reached the center and the soldiers were dismissed and Zack was being pulled away too.
"Hey ,I'm Zack, Cloud's right hand man, where he goes, I go!" He said shaking off the guards.
Zangan only accepted this when he saw Tifa nod at him.
"He comes with us" Zangan said firmly.
Zangan spoke a riddle in Lydian and a circle illuminated the ground surrounding them and they all stood firmly as it sank down.
They entered a large room with the same design as the upstairs, marble pillars surrounded the room and a grand table sat in the center with many seats going around. Zangan took a seat at the head of the table on a large arm chair and gestured for the three to take a seat.
"Cloud Strife, you are in a dangerous situation; if Ajax learns you are here in my attention, Lydia will be under attack within seconds. Not am I putting my people in danger you, and Zack will not be spared." He sighed, leaning on his elbows, holding his hands together and leaned his chin on his knuckles. "What is it you want to tell me?" he simply asked, trying to be quick as every second was dangerous.
Cloud took a deep breath, "I know about the Mako testing and I'm not proud to be a test subject but I am and I can't change that. I know my mother was the price to pay" Cloud locked his eyes on Zangan as Tifa put her hand over his, she knew this wasn't easy for him.
"What testing, mind telling me what this is about?" Zack frowned sounding annoyed, 'how could Cloud go against Ajax?!'.
"Zack.." Tifa pressed; giving Zack a look to keep quiet and he sat back and listened.
"The tests drove Ajax insane, he became addicted to it.. the strength of the Mako, remarkable; it is admittedly the best discovery we've ever made but the most deadly." Zangan looked up to meet Cloud's expression, "I'm sorry about Ifalna she was a dear friend and she too, didn't know of the testing and when she did find out, it was far too late.. The day you took the scrolls, I prepared for the worst. I was afraid you would be another Sephiroth" Zangan admitted.
"I was surprised you let us escape and I don't know what I would've done if it hadn't been for Tifa; she was with me and helped me fight this." he kissed her hand in gratitude.
This new information dissected the situation and now everyone had a clear idea of how the war began and the truth about the past.
"What do we do now?" Cloud asked the question he'd been desperate to know the answer to.
Zangan stood up "We need to put a stop to Ajax" he finally spoke.
"But how? I'm sorry Master Zangan, but Ajax isn't just a normal General, he is..." Zack's voice sounded hitched and the tension in his voice showed he was petrified of going against Ajax.
"Yes Zack we know but there is no other way, Ajax needs to be ended. I'm sorry, I know he's your father Cloud, but he can't be trusted at all. The best plan I have is to attack. You know of the best way to enter Delos without being seen" Zangan rubbed his hands and blew his hands to create a blast of blue magical dust blow over the large table to reveal a three dimensional map of Delos.
"Whoa, that's impressive!" Zack looked bewildered, examining the blue floating sculpture.
"We need to make a plan and we need to be quick" Tifa stood up and leaned over the table to look at some entrances.
Cloud highlighted the best entrances to get into Delos. The plan was a mighty risk, but Ajax had to be stopped and now that Zangan had Cloud on his side to take down Ajax, he felt stronger. The room filled up quickly as Zangan gave the soldiers the orders for there new mission.