Title: Tears of the Moon
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII
Characters: Aerith, Cloud, Tifa
Prompt: 045: Moon
Word Count: 869
Summary: A moonlit walk in Nibelheim, and a vow that could change the future
Author's Notes: Short and relatively sweet. Still Cloti-ish, even though it's mainly an Aerith fic :) Bonus points to anyone who knows where I pulled the title of this one from ;) (Not that it should be that hard to figure out...<3)
She had been oddly excited about passing through Nibelheim. She knew so very little about Cloud, and some small part of her believed that in passing through his hometown, she might learn more…he kept so many secrets, but she hoped, in their visit, many of those secrets would reveal themselves among the remains of the place he had once called home.
When the town was still standing, the others were shocked. She thought she was shocked as well, but she tried to take it as a sign. Cloud and Tifa seemed almost upset, but she couldn’t really understand why. Was it strange? Sure. Strange, a little disconcerting…but still. The town had been re-built! That had to mean something.
She watched Cloud closely. There was…a pain across his face. It was something she had never seen before, not even when he had first told them the story. A pain, as though for the first time he was actually feeling the intensity of what had happened that night. Tifa looked confused, eyeing Cloud almost as though she were afraid of him. Everyone else seemed more interested in the mystery of the town’s re-building, and the cloaked figures wandering around, and what “reunion” could be.
She wanted to be there for him. She had no idea what really happened that night, no idea why the town had been rebuilt yet the townspeople denied the fire…she didn’t know any of it. All she knew was the she wanted to help him. To be there for him, to tell him how grateful she was for all he had done for her, tell him that she would always be there for him, how much she cared about him…
She would do it that night. Wait until nobody else was around, tiptoe into his room, and invite him out for a midnight walk. There had been so many nights where they had talked alone, but always about her. Her identity, her abilities, her past…but they never talked about him. Tonight, they would talk about him.
She went for a walk that night. She didn’t want the other girls to see her leave the room, so she thought she would stay outside for a bit, and go straight to Cloud when she came inside. She explored the edge of the town, closer to the mountains, the voices of the planet growing louder as the town went to sleep…but even as she re-entered the town she thought she could hear other voices, real and familiar, coming to her from the outside.
She did. And as she realized who was responsible for the tiny whispers, a small lump formed in her throat and she felt her heart clench.
She was at a well, tall, in the center of the town. Cloud sat on top of it, and he was not alone.
There was a steady stream of tears flowing from Tifa’s face, from where she sat at Cloud’s feet. Her head was ever so gently resting on one of his knees, arms wrapped around her own legs which were tucked into her body. His shoulders were hunched, with one hand resting on the leg near her head, as though he was unsure what to do with it. They both stared into the night sky, talking silently, their whispers carrying on the breeze, their words lost.
The sight caused a swell of emotions, but most of all, she felt foolish. This was Cloud’s hometown, true, but she had seemed to forget that it was Tifa’s hometown as well. Forgotten that they had been friends, that she had been with him that Night. That it had probably been worse for her than for him, because she could remember…
She stared at the picture before her, the people who years later were still bound by a memory she had not lived, tied together by a chain of emotions she could never be a part of…and she wept. Not because she could not share the moment with him, or even because she could not share the moment with her…but because, in whatever way Cloud’s past had existed, whatever role Tifa would play…the memory was real. Sephiroth was real. Their pain…it was real. A flash of moonlight glinted off a tear resting on Tifa’s cheek and she watched Cloud finally reach for his friend’s shoulder, pulling her awkwardly against him…
She turned. It hurt to watch that kind of pain, but it hurt even more to know that there was more hurt, more heartache, than what stood before her. That there would be more and more, and as long as He lived, it would never stop. She blinked against the surge of tears threatening to take her once more, and she vowed that she would not allow this suffering to continue. She’d known for…for a long time, that she had some part to play in the final battle, though the whispers of the planet had given her no further hints. But now they spoke, and not through the earth, or through the wind, but through the two broken souls on top of the well. She would end it. She didn’t know how, or at what cost…but somehow, she had to keep this pain from enduring.
She had to end it.