Disclaimer: All of the characters used in this fic is property of Squaresoft. I do not own them, and I probably never will.

Heart To Heart

by: Kai

Chapter 1

I'm not sure how long it has been. It seems like it has been an eternity, but the truth was it had only been a matter of months. We had all gathered at Kalm shortly after defeating Sephiroth, and it was a time of joy. Meteor had been stopped by the spell that Aeris had casted, and all was well. Except for one person.Cloud. Even though he seemed to be better after I helped pull him back together in the Lifestream, he became so very distant.even moreso than before. I guess it was because he found that that Aeris' old boyfriend was Zack, his best friend. But what hit him harder was that.Zack came back. We all thought he was dead, but somehow he had survived. It all started back when Aeris disappeared off on her own to summon Holy.

We had all traveled to the Forgotten City in an attempt to find Aeris and save her from Sephiroth. We had no idea how Cloud knew Sephiroth was going after her, but he had shown that he shared some kind of link with Sephiroth before.so we all placed aside our doubt and decided to believe Cloud. As we raced down the steps of the Forgotten City Cloud ran so fast that none of us could catch up to him, not even the fastest member of our group, Nanaki. Cloud only stopped when he reached Aeris. Then, to the horror of us all, he drew his sword and almost struck down Aeris with his own two hands. I managed to get through to him at the last moment, just before his blade made contact with Aeris' skull.

Casting his sword aside Cloud dropped to his knees, beads of sweat trailing down his face. I would not have believed it if I had not seen it with my own eyes. I thought the terror was over and I was about to take a step forward when a felt something that sent shivers up my spine and caused goosebumps to appear all over my body. It was a dark presence, a presence that was bathed in death and destruction. I heard someone yell something and when I looked up, I saw an ominous figure descend from the heavens. The light in the chamber reflected off of what I thought appeared to be a blade, and that was when it hit me. The horrible realization that this stranger was going to kill Aeris! I tried to scream out but I found that my voice would not work, and that's when I felt something else sweep by me in a flash. It was another presence, but one I had not felt in a long time. He moved with such incredible speed that it amazed me, but for a while I refused to believe it. There was.no way. It couldn't be him. But the truth was there, right in front of my face.

As the stranger descended from above he was -inches- away from running Aeris through with his blade when another blade intercepted it before it made contact. This cased the first stranger to land without doing any harm, before he did a quick backflip to put some distance between himself and his opponents. It was only now that we got a clear look at his face, and I found my anger growing quickly. Smooth platinum hair, piercing stare, and that sword! Sephiroth.it was Sephiroth. He hadn't taken enough away from me yet.destroying my friends, my family, my home, was not enough for this monster. He now wanted to kill my friend as well. I felt hot tears beginning to swell in my eyes and I fought to hold them back, I would not cry. I would not cry in front of my new friends, and I would NOT give this monster the satisfaction of seeing what pain he managed to inflict on me. Subconsciously I reached down and placed my hand on my ribs. There was no scar there, but I could remember it clearly. That was where that monster had slashed me seven years ago. I had almost died, but I doubt Sephiroth would've cared. He had killed the entire town and set fire to it as well, what's one more life on his hands? This made me even more angry and I bit my bottom lip hard, it took all that I had to keep from charging down there right now and trying to punch his lights out. Rather, I tried to focus on who was the person who stopped him.

My eyes widened in shock, it couldn't be. And yet, he was standing there, looking just like he did seven years ago.when he came to Nibelheim along with Cloud and Sephiroth. It was.Zack. He stood there with his back to Aeris, almost as if he was protecting her. He also kept his gaze on Sephiroth, and he held his sword at the ready. The same sword he came into Nibelheim with.and the same sword that Cloud had started off our adventure with, the Buster Sword. Zack had been missing for so long I thought he had died, but here he was, which proved that he was very much alive. I stood there in shock while everyone else was wondering what a member of SOLDIER was doing here, and for that matter fighting Sephiroth. Cloud was still in a trance and Aeris continued casting her spell, oblivious, or so I assumed, to the chaos that raged on around her. The last thing I remember was Sephiroth casting a spell of some sort before everything went dark.

I later found out Sephiroth had casted a Sleep spell on us, and only Zack had been unaffected. He had predicted Sephiroth would attempt such a maneuver, and so he had properly equipped himself to defend against it. After everyone was awake, Aeris was overjoyed to see that Zack was alive and well. In fact, she ran up to him, throwing her arms around his neck, and kissed him. Everyone was in shock, but no one more than Cloud. As I turned to see how Cloud was doing, I could see the surprise and, more importantly, the hurt in his eyes. However, he did not say a word. He simply bowed his head and kept his eyes hidden underneath his bangs. But I knew what was going on.I grew up with him after all. He was feeling the same kind of pain I was.the pain that was caused by the knowledge that the one you love does not love you back. For him it was Aeris.but for me, it was Cloud. And yet, he doesn't know, not even to this very day.

It's been at least a year since that day. I don't know how well the others are doing, but I sure hope that they're all doing okay. Me? Well, I decided to follow the one that I love, no matter where he went. So many times during our venture I felt like stopping to give myself a short break, but I knew that if I did this Cloud would just keep going and leave me behind. He wanted to be by himself, I knew that much. But.I want to be by his side, always. How I longed to be in his arms, to stare into those mesmerizing blue eyes of his.and how I wish that his heart belonged to me. But I knew.I knew that wasn't the case. His heart still belonged to another, one that would never love him back. And that's why he left, he could no longer bear being around her, seeing her so happy with his best friend. I know that he would never admit it to anyone, not even Aeris herself. But I know Cloud all too well.secretly he wishes that Aeris loved him, and not Zack. But he could not bring himself to come between his best friend, and his loved one. And so he did the only thing he could do.leave.

I've followed him for so long, and I could never quite find out if he had a destination in mind. He would not be heading back to Nibelheim, that much was obvious. But one day he might head west, and the next day he would head north. I'm not sure if he's wandering aimlessly, or he's purposely doing this to try to shake me off his trail. But he can't shake me; I'm too smart for that. Though, I wish I had dressed more appropriately. Just yesterday we had entered into the snowy north, not too far from where the North Crater is. I wish still wearing my short white T-shirt and short black shorts, and so the cold affected me that much more. The only thing I had other than that was my gloves, my boots, and a worn-out old cloak that I used to cover my body best I could. Cloud was also dressed in his usual SOLDIER uniform, and he too only had a worn-out old cloak to shield him from the cold. But there was a very important and very big difference. Cloud had not only been injected with JENOVA cells, but he had been infused with MAKO as well. I had neither.

We then ran into a small pack of snow rabbits. It wasn't a big deal since we had run into a lot of monsters since we started our travel. But I was already starting to get sick from the intense cold, and as such I was weakened. As I evaded the attack of one of them, another one came from behind and kicked me square in the back, causing me to fall face first into the snow. It hurt a lot more than I thought it would, and try as I might, I could not summon the strength to get up. The same rabbit then pounced on me and kept me down on the snow, and I was sure I was a goner. The last thing I heard was Cloud calling out my name before everything went dark.

As I came to I found myself staring up at the sky. But instead of seeing the sky, I saw some fabric. My lips felt so dry and my head was pounding, but other than that I seemed fine. When I tried to sit up I found that it was more difficult than I thought it would be, and I would've fallen back down and hit my head had Cloud not caught me. He helped me to sit up before he gave me a glass of some warm liquid. I noticed he had set up a tent and started a fire within it. It was small though, so it would not cause the tent to catch fire.

"Go on, drink it. It'll help you feel better." I smiled at Cloud and nodded, before taking a sip. The warm liquid made its way down my throat and I handed the glass back to Cloud, who put it down. He then laid me back down before putting a hand to my forehead.

"Good, you're not burning up anymore," he said. Did I have a fever? Well, that would explain the headache. I reached up with my own hand and grabbed Cloud's arm. He looked at me and though it pained me to say it, I felt I had to. "Cloud, go on.without me. I'm only.only going to slow you down." Cloud's face darkened even more if that was possible, before he grabbed his sword. It slid it into his sheath before grabbing his cloak and throwing it over his shoulders. He walked over to the tent's opening and looked back at me. I looked into his eyes, but it gave me no clue as to what he was thinking. He then turned back around and walked out of the tent. I could not believe it! Was he really going to leave me here? Well, I did ask him to go on.so why wouldn't he? I wrestled with myself until I ended up dozing off.

When I started to come to, a low groan escaped my mouth. My head still hurt, but not as much as before. I was feeling rather hot, and so I grabbed the sheet that was on top of me and I was surprised to find it was quite.hairy. It was then that I remembered Cloud and how he had walked out! Bolting into an upright position I scanned the tent, to find Cloud not even a meter's distance away from me. He turned to face me and I immediately lunged forward to embrace him.

"I.I thought you had left me." Cloud gently pushed me away and gave me a frown. "I know I seem cold, but I'm -that- cold in even your eyes? I'm hurt. I -had- left, but only so I could get you something warmer." He then gestured down at my body. I looked down, only to see a bear's skin on me. So.Cloud had gone out to find a polar bear and kill it just so he could retrieve its skin and give it to me.so I could be warm. I felt my eyes about to water but I blinked the tears away, I don't think Cloud would have liked it if I cried because he did one nice thing for me. Gently he eased me down and told me to get more rest before we set out again. I nodded and he went back to tend to his own devices, leaving me to my own thoughts. I stared down at the bearskin that lay on top of me before looking over at Cloud. It was a sweet gesture and I appreciated it, but I knew he didn't do this because he loved me. He did it because I was a friend, and he would've done the same for anyone else. I sighed under my breath and rolled onto my side as tears began to well up in my eyes again. *Will you.*

*.ever love me?*

That question was almost the only complete thought that raced through my head. *Will you ever love me?* "Of course not." I muttered under my breath. I turned around to see if Tifa had heard what I had said, but she had fallen asleep again. Despite the way I had treated her this entire trip, after a while I actually did appreciate her company. I thought I wanted to be alone, and yet somehow the knowledge that a friend would go to such lengths just to be by my side made me feel.well, better. Not enough to get over all that had happened, but enough to keep me from going insane. I watched as Tifa slept; her chest slowly rising and falling with her breathing, her skin so white and smooth, and how she looked so divine. It made me remember why I had fallen for her so very long ago, but it also made me question why those feelings had diminished. The question was soon answered.by an image of Aeris.

I.don't exactly know why, but since the moment I first met her I.I just lost myself. She was so beautiful with her long brown hair, her great personality and her gentle yet alluring emerald eyes. She always seemed to be so happy and perhaps that's what drew me to her. She could make me smile no matter what, which was yet another thing I loved about her. And yet that day back in the Forgotten City, I had.I had almost.done something unforgivable. As I stood in front of her I had drawn my sword and was a hair away from ending her life with my own two hands had Tifa not stopped me. And what's more, I could do nothing as I watched Sephiroth descend from above in an attempt to skewer Aeris through with his Masamune. If it had not been for Zack, Aeris would not be alive right now. My best friend.Zack. Because of him Aeris continues to live her life. But my life has also ended.because of him.

How.how can I possibly choose a girl over my best friend, the one who has watched out for me ever since I signed up with ShinRa to try to get into SOLDIER? I.I can't do that to him. That and seeing Aeris so happy with him gives me a sense of happiness as well. And yet, it feels as though Sephiroth himself has run me through my heart with his Masamune blade every time I see them together. Every smile I've given them.completely fake. Every compliment I've given to them about how well they went together.as fake as the very memories that I had before that incident in the Lifestream. And that was why I left and became a vagabond. Because.I was slowly dying inside. Each time I saw them together, a little piece of me would die. Every time they held hands, every time they hugged, every time they kissed...and every time they said to each other "I love you".

Looking back at Tifa, I knew that I could easily get into a relationship with her. I cared for her, and I'm pretty sure she cared for me too, there's no other reason why she would follow me even when it caused her so much pain. But I knew that it wasn't right. How could I get into a relationship with Tifa when my heart still belonged to another? It would not be fair to myself.and especially not to Tifa. She deserved much better than that.much better than me. I honestly don't know what she sees in me. I'm a complete fake. I never made it into SOLDIER, half my memories of the past were completely made up, and on several occasions I've not only compromised the safety of my friends because I was too weak to keep Sephiroth from controlling me, but that of the planet as well. No.I don't deserve Aeris, or Tifa.

I sat there in the tent and watched as the sun rose. I did not get a wink of sleep that whole night, but I hadn't slept since Meteor was destroyed, so it really wasn't a big deal. I turned to look at Tifa when she began to stir. She was a lot less pale then before, and when I placed my hand on her forehead her fever was totally gone. That in itself was cause for celebration. Guess that old remedy I learned from my mom back then really worked. Mom.she had been so young when Sephiroth.when he.he committed that atrocious crime. I clenched my fist in anger at the memory of my ex-hero, but I pushed it out of my mind as Tifa began to wake up. She seemed a lot better than yesterday as well, though I noticed that she had gotten thinner still. Obviously wasn't eating right.thanks to me. I went through my pack and searched for some rations before handing them to Tifa and taking a couple for myself. Though I wasn't very hungry myself I wolfed them then, only to notice Tifa was merely nibbling at hers. She was going to get herself sick again if she kept this up. After eating about half a bar of the rations I gave her, she shook her head saying she wasn't hungry. Frowning, I put the unopened ones away before starting to pack the tent up.

Maybe about twenty minutes later we were on our way again.or rather, I was on my way and Tifa was following me with little concern for her own health and well being. Subconsciously I was moving closer and closer to a place I had not been to for at least a year. A place that I wasn't quite sure I wanted to return to.but yet I couldn't help it. It was as if something was drawing me there, like I -had- to go. It was so reminiscent of what Sephiroth used to do to me that for a while I feared that it was him who was doing this. Who was drawing me towards this place. But that is impossible, for Sephiroth is dead. He may have been Godlike, but he was not a God.which we found out soon enough. He was as human as we were, but the JENOVA cells within his body granted him amazing abilities. However, the JENOVA cells do not grant immortality, and Sephiroth found that out the hard way.

I think Tifa started to realize where I was heading not too long ago, but decided not to say a word. She had this dark demeanor around her, like she really did not want to return to this place unless absolutely necessary. But still she would rather accompany me on my stupid little quest than heed her own thoughts. How could I be such a greedy bastard.doing this to Tifa? But I could not help it. Someday I would make it up to her, but if I didn't do this now I might not be able to continue on with my life.

Through the canyon, past all the monsters that stood in my path, through everything. By midday I had already made it to where I needed to go. This place looked exactly like it did a year ago, nothing had changed. The shimmering crystals, the transparent staircase.it was as if time itself had stopped and preserved this place -exactly- like it was. Slowly I descended the stairs with Tifa close behind me. At one point she stumbled and I caught her before she fell, and so I told her to hold on to me as we descended the steps. We kept going until we hit the next platform. Tifa stopped and let me go at the top of the steps before placing her hands on my cheeks. She turned my face to face her and stared deep into my eyes with her own.

"Be careful Cloud." she said to me before hugging me. I hugged her back, then descended the final steps on my own. When I reached the bottom I hopped across a few small "islands" before making it to that fateful place. It was the same spot where Aeris had kneeled at one year ago to summon Holy.the same spot where I had drawn my sword and almost done the unmentionable.the same spot where Zack saved Aeris from a certain demise. It was the exact same spot.where my life had ended. Just like a year ago I fell to my knees.before I fell forward so that my hands were placed on the floor as well. I could feel the tears stinging my eyes and even though I fought to hold them back, I could not stop them from emerging. They rolled down my face as I kneeled there, unable to do anything else but I cry. I then felt a pair of arms wrap themselves around me and though I initially repelled from it, I soon took comfort in them. I knew it was Tifa, there was no one else there. I hated being so weak in front of her after I tried so hard and for so long to be strong, and yet right now I didn't care. I just let her hold me, I let her hold my head against her head and I just cried, letting out everything that I had held in for the past year.

Author's Note: Wow, this chapter was a lot longer than the Prologue wasn't it? If you didn't know when it changed from Tifa's Point of View to Cloud's Point of View, go back up and look at the part where Tifa was thinking to herself about if Cloud will ever love her. Cloud was thinking the exact same thing (though about Aeris) and so I decided to do the shift there. Nifty huh? Well I'm pretty happy with this chapter, and I hope it gets more reviews than my Prologue! (Which got none.) Chapter Two might not be up for a while.I really don't feel like writing more if no one's gonna bother reading it. So I guess it will depend on the readers whether I continue or not.

-IF- I actually write the next chapter, it will be from Aeris and Zack's Point of View, somewhat similar to what I did in this chapter.though Zack's might be slightly longer than Aeris', seeing as how I'm going to explain how he survived during his internal monologue. So as always, PLEASE R&R people. I'm beggin' yas.

P.S. - Sorry if you feel Tifa and/or Cloud was too out of character. I was trying to keep them in character, but don't know how well (or how poorly) I did that. So that's why I NEED some reviews people.it's so important for a new writer such as myself. ;_;