Chapter 1

 

 

 

Tifa awoke to the sound of a faint muffled voice.  Brushing her long chocolate brown hair from her eyes, she quietly opened the door and stepped into the hallway.  Peering down the far end of the hall into the dark shadows she should hear Barret's muffled snoring.  Tifa headed towards Vincent’s room, although he didn’t sleep very much, when he did he had horrific nightmares.  Throughout their journey chasing Sephiroth, nothing fazed or frightened the cold gunsman, not Jenova, not any of the Weapons, not even Sephiroth, but these nightmares would reach deep into Vincent’s mind and find the memories, that he kept so well hidden from everyone else and replay them over and over again.   Vincent would mumble incoherently and recoil away from an invisible horror no one else in this world could see but him.  Tifa had no doubts that in his dreams he was reliving the horrors of his past, after those nightmares Vincent would draw even more so into his little private cocoon and isolated himself from  AVALANCHE.  Sometimes they would get so bad that he transformed into the huge, winged beast, he called Chaos and he didn’t want any of his “friends” around, case he injured them.  The only people that knew about Vincent’s secret was Cloud and herself, they had accompanied Vincent into the cave behind the waterfall and seen the past as it played, on the smooth crystalline walls. Tifa felt though, that however icy his demeanour or however frightening or intimidating he may look, even Vincent needed someone to and showed that they really cared, on this Seph-dammed planet. 

    

Tifa peered through the slightly ajar door into the room, Vincent seemed to be sleeping peacefully, his chest rising and falling slightly in a steady rhythm under the thick woollen blankets.  Light spilled into the room accenting Vincent’s pale skin and making his face look almost ghostly.  His beautiful, ebony hair was spread out behind him like an inky pool on the stark white pillow.  As if sensed he was being watched, Vincent shifted onto his side, pulling the warm blankets up to his chin, his unbound hair slipping to hide his face from those prying eyes. 

    

Tifa backed out of the doorway, she shivered, it was a reasonably cold night, but nights were always cold in the Icicle Inn, she thought to herself.  Stepping quickly down the hall, Tifa made her way back to her room, passing Clouds room on the way.  She heard him mutter as if he were talking to someone.  A mixture of terror and concern immediately hit her.  Had Jenova and Sephiroth survived, and were messing Cloud’s mind again?  Would he eventually go insane this time, as Sephiroth had?  Cloud hadn’t been quite the same since meteor had been stoped and Sephiroth defeated, he had been kind of, distant, detached, tuned out of this world.  Even though he tried not to let it show, by acting as if nothing was wrong, but he had never been a very good actor.

    

Tifa pushed the door open and crossed the room to Clouds bed.  He seemed to be sleeping peacefully, but all of a sudden he started to mumble as if talking to someone.  Actually it was more speaking then mumbling and Tifa could understand most of what he was saying.

 

“You said you would come back when it was all over….but you never did…”

 

He had a sad kind of wistful look on his face, which matched the sad tone of his voice.  For hours Tifa watched over him, listening to him talk to someone she couldn’t see, in his sleep.  After awhile, he seemed to sleep quietly, but seeing Cloud sleepily opening his glowing mako eyes, Tifa leaned over him, to look at him, her burgundy eyes full of concern.

 

“…Cloud?” she asked quietly “Cloud…are you alright?”

 

Cloud looked up sleepily at her.  He looked slightly confused, then still half asleep he smiled and sleepily mumbled,

 

“Aeris…?”

 

Still with that same wistful, little smile on his face, Cloud closed his eyes and snuggled back under his blanket, and continued sleeping peacefully.

 

 

 

 

~*~

 

 

 

Hehe!! Any one want to guess what happens next?? No? *droops unhapily*