Category: Games » Final Fantasy VII
Language: English, Rating: Rated: M
Published: 04-23-08, Updated: 05-05-08
Chapters: 20, Words: 31,406
Chapter 1: Two Little Words
And everything seemed to be going so well.
The sentence echoed in his head, profound but so deceivingly short.
Cloud realized he’d briefly lost focus on the world, and turned his attention back to Tifa, who gazed at him with vast affection and no little sympathy.
“Tifa…” he softly said, at a loss for words. “Why…why didn’t you tell me?”
Tifa shrugged her slim shoulders and zipped closed the last of her bags. Her room looked barren now, just the stripped bed and the empty bureau.
“It didn’t seem important,” she sighed, cocking her lovely head and giving him a sad smile. “Cloud, you never had any interest in being a father—as much as you love Denzel and Marlene, you never quite wanted what went along with that love. Please, don’t be offended, but I’m making the best choice for the baby. Rude considers him to be his own, and Denzel is so much happier…”
She trailed off, her gaze pleading, begging him to understand.
“Don’t you want us to finally be happy, Cloud? I don’t want you to expect to be a father to our son—he already has one—but on the other hand I won’t expect anything from you, either. Isn’t that fair enough?”
Stunned with her revelation, Cloud went ahead and hefted her luggage when she made to lift it.
“Tifa,” he said, and looked at her with those soft, glowing blue eyes that never failed to melt her heart. He looked like a scolded puppy, so uncertain and sad that Tifa felt the impulsive urge to hug him. “You decided this all on your own? You decided…it would be best for…for the baby if…”
He looked so pained, so shocked. Tifa ached for him, but she wouldn’t change her mind. Rude was stability, love, all that was good and solid in a mad, mad world.
“…if I weren’t in his life?” he finished, so hurt by her decision.
“Yes,” she simply said. “Cloud, you had so much on your plate when I found out I was pregnant, and after my fight with Loz I wasn’t sure that the baby would make it…How can we raise a child together when we don’t even live together? When both of us love other people? How confusing would that be?”
Cloud ducked his head, more contrite than she’d seen him in a very long time.
“You’ll be as welcome to him as everyone else, Cloud,” Tifa gently said. “But no more than that. He’ll never know that Rude isn’t his father, and I’m sorry if that hurts you, but that is my decision.”
“That you made without me,” Cloud said, frustrated and angry and hurt.
Tifa felt unbidden tears well in her eyes and she gently stroked the now formidable bulge of her belly.
“I had to make it without you,” she whispered, dropping her gaze to the floor. “You were never here for me when I needed you…”
She heard his quick, indrawn breath, could feel his slender body tighten with tension.
Before the confrontation could degenerate, a horn sounded outside.
“That’s Rude,” she said, and tried to take her bags from him, but Cloud stubbornly held on and insisted on carrying them downstairs.
“Cloud,” she said, standing next to the car as he loaded her bags and closed the trunk. She gave him a quick hug and felt his hand rest lightly on the swell of her belly. “Don’t be angry, please. I only want what’s best—you have a child of your own to raise, and the last thing Kadaj needs is competition for your affections.”
Cloud stayed silent, his beautiful, solemn face even more grave than usual. His hand lingered on her belly, but he finally nodded softly before pulling away and mounting his bike. With a long, unfathomable look, he pulled off into traffic and was gone.
“Is everything good?” Rude asked, helping her into the car with gentle, caring hands.
“Yeah,” Tifa said, and wondered why it tasted of a lie. “Everything is fine.”