Disclaimer: I do not own the characters, they belong to SquareEnix.
All was quiet in 7th Heaven, the children, Denzel and Marlene were out visiting Barrett, Marlene's foster father, and Cloud was out traipsing across the land on Fenrir, his beloved motorcycle. This left Tifa, the carer of the children and childhood friend to Cloud, alone in the empty, silent bar. She was suddenly out of things to tend to; all the glasses and benches were spotless. She sighed and cupped her jaw with her hand as she leaned on the bench that she could see her reflection in. She looked somewhat younger in that reflection of hers, as if the 'adolescent-Tifa' was staring back her. By looking at that younger looking Tifa glazed on the bench top, Tifa remembered how that 'Tifa' used to love the life she lived in Nibelheim with her father and best friend, Cloud. She remembered the way they used to play in the field behind her home that neighboured his. She and Cloud were the closest of friends who shared everything with each other, even secrets, which was until the death of Cloud's SOLDIER friend Zack followed by Aerith's, a friend of theirs both, after that, Cloud had carried a load of guilt on his shoulders and never opened up to anyone, not even Tifa. After they parted ways, when Cloud was shipped off to become a SOLDIER, it was like their friendship had been blown out, like a candle flame. But now, things slowly had been changing for the better. When Cloud had been cured of Geostigma, along with Denzel, he had moved back to his room above the bar, which Tifa suggested the first step to healing their friendship. Tifa thought about this. 'Friendship', was what her mind thought it was, but her heart told her a different story, she just didn't know how to explain it. She wanted to find that lost friendship that she shared with Cloud, she wanted to help him, wanted him to open up to her more, to no longer lock secrets away.
Then she came to the realisation. She had been hiding two secrets from him all these years. One she had been keeping since their childhood and the other her heart had to tell, that she wasn't so sure about.
Tifa straightened, it had been so long she had ever played the piano, the secret she had never told Cloud because he'd think she be bad at it. They were such childish thoughts, she was now twenty one. She wondered when she'd be able to show Cloud. But it had been such a long time since she had played and she would of surly lost her touch, maybe 'show' wouldn't be the best idea...maybe just tell him, she thought.
Something inside her pulled her toward the attic above her bedroom on the third floor where her piano had been secretly stored collecting dust like a lost memory it was. Tifa climbed the stairs slowly, why was she so nervous to play it? She didn't know why, but she thought it because she doubted that Cloud and she would ever awaken that old friendship they once held, like she doubted she would ever be able to play again.
As she opened the rusted door knob to only see a room with only the covered grand piano facing the window on the opposite wall, Tifa approached the covered object she once loved playing. Would she be able to play again? With one swift movement she grabbed a handful of the white sheet covering the piano and flung it off. Dust particles swirled around gracefully as she stared down to her once beloved piano.
As she sat on the aged seat her fingers traced the dust covered keys. Memories filled her head of playing this piano, the piano her father had bought her.
"Why did I ever give up?" She said to herself as she began to remember playing to her father.
Tifa's mind went blank as her fingers searched for a key, the key that began one of her favourite melodies she would play over and over, but never knew who to play it to.
As she played the key, her hands began to involuntary carry across the other keys, and the melody began to flow. She began to sing the song quietly as she remembered her friendship with Cloud, before any of the planet's crises's ever carried out.
As the song continued, Tifa's awakened voice became louder as she sang and the melody became clearer.
Little did Tifa know her piano over powered the hum of Cloud's motorcycle's engine pulling up outside the bar. As Cloud walked up to the entrance of the 7th Heaven, he couldn't help sigh after the long day of deliveries. As he touched the handle of the glass door, he could hear the muffled melody of a piano. As he silently opened the door and stepped in, he could hear a voice sing up stairs. He couldn't help but think he had heard the song somewhere, but he couldn't quite remember where. What he did know was that it reminded him of Tifa and his friendship in Nibelheim when they were just kids around Marlene and Denzel's age.
As he crept up the stairs and reached the next flight that carried into the attic he noticed the door to the ignored room was open. The music seemed to carry out from there, and so he ascended those stairs too, finding Tifa seated at a large grand piano with her back towards him, playing the song he now recognised to be the song he always heard drifting from her house that stood next to his. He leaned against the doorway as he listened to Tifa's beautiful music. He had never seen her play; he assumed that she had kept this from him, but why? Was she embarrassed?
As the song drew to a close and the last key Tifa played drifted, he noticed her start to sob. This he had never seen Tifa do either. Tifa was somebody he thought to be unbelievably strong through all the battles they had been through, Tifa had composed herself so well. If she was crying now, it most of been something significant to upset her. His feet carried him a step forward and the old floorboards beneath his shoe creaked and Tifa whirled around.
"Cloud..." She said stunned. She stood knocking the bench onto its side. She furiously wiped her tears away, "H-how long have you been there for?"
"You're good. I never knew you played." Cloud said his eyes shifting from the piano back to his childhood friend.
"You were never meant to know." Tifa blurted, 'I mean I never let you know because I thought I wasn't that good. I'm sorry I kept this secret, even when we were kids."
Tifa sat the stool up again and slumped into it guiltily crossing her arms over her lap and bowing her head.
As always Cloud was at a loss of words, so instead he walked over to the bench where Tifa was seat and sat beside her. He wanted to help her, to know what was bothering her.
"You're better than good. I've always wounded what was up here, I knew it was for storage, but I never knew this was up here." He said looking at the black piano.
"I was thinking, before you got home," She paused as she registered the last word she had used. She felt guilty she had used that word and thought it wasn't the right word for him, as he had only been here at 7th Heaven for a few weeks. Tifa peeked out the corner of her eye towards Cloud. He had a calm almost thankful expression on his face, and so she continued.
"About our friendship when we were kids. We close then." She breathed.
Silence fell between them, though it was not uncommon for them. Embarrassed at the whole episode that had just happened and what she was saying, Tifa got to her feet and collected the dirty sheet and walked back to the piano.
"What are you doing?" Cloud asked, puzzled about her actions.
"It was good to play it again." She said finding the edge to the sheet.
"What do you mean by was?" Cloud pinned her with his crystal blue eyes that Tifa loved so much.
"Uh...well, I gave up, a long time ago." She replied to his question.
"Why?" That was a god question for Tifa. She searched her mind for a good answer but only one came to mind, that she knew wouldn't satisfy Cloud.
Tifa clutched the sheet and stared down at the floor. Was it because of that? She thought.
"We aren't as close as were, Cloud. We've locked in secrets that we would have never kept to ourselves if we were still kids. I loved that, when we were so open." More tears tugged at Tifa's eyes, so her eyes didn't move away from the floor.
It hadn't been him all along; she had placed most of the blame on Cloud when they began to distance themselves from each other, but it was her from the start. When she had never told him about the piano, he lost trust in her. But she never knew that Cloud had looked at this his own fault, this where he had began to blame himself before the following tragedies of Zack and Aerith's death. He had thought that maybe if he protected her by becoming a SOLDIER, Tifa would trust him again. All of this was over mere embarrassment.
"I'm sorry." Tifa said, choking on a sob.
She heard Cloud get up from the bench, his footsteps coming towards her. She backed away, but stumbled on the sheet, and fell backwards, only to fall in Clouds arms.
"Why?" Cloud asked again. Tifa buried her head into his chest; it had been so long since she had ever done this. So long ago it seemed like it never happened at all.
"I placed the blame on you, when I should have blamed myself! I blamed you for not opening up me when you came back. It was me that was to blame all along. I had never told you about this. You lost trust in me." She sobbed.
"I never blamed you. Not once, though I too hid a secret from you since we were kids," Cloud paused nervously. "I thought I could protect you by going away, because..." He trailed off.
Tifa, lifted her head away from his chest to look at him, only to find he was staring back at her.
"You forgive me?" It wasn't so much a question but more a realisation.
Cloud leaned in towards her and Tifa's breathing quickened. She suddenly realised her heart's secret was the same as his. As she closed her eyes his lips brushed against hers and she melted against him.
He didn't want to stitch up their friendship, he wanted to improve it. She realised this.
Tifa wound her arms around Cloud's neck. This was what she wanted, nothing more, and nothing less. She felt as if life was complete, as if the unknown had awakened their dormant feelings.
Author's note: Hi all! Just thought I'd let you know that this was my first ever Fanfic! And that I imagined that the song Tifa was playing was "Skinny Love" by Birdy, look it up on iTunes or Youtube, it's a great song, one of my favourites. I was actually listning to it while writting this story. Hope you guys liked the story anyways. :) Be sure to leave a review so I can improve anything, and maybe get new ideas for more stories to come!
THANKS AGIAN! :D