Summary: Cloud and the party arrived to Gold Saucer and they decided to stay the night in one of the hotels. Tifa wants to spend some time with Cloud but Aerith went ahead and she took him on a date. Although that Aerith is her best friend, she wasn't willing to lose Cloud to her; so she follows them secretly to keep an eye on them.
Timeline: During the game on the second visit to Gold Saucer.
Disclaimer: I don't own Final Fantasy VII. Square Enix owns Final Fantasy and its characters. There is no copyright infringement intended.
After Cloud finished telling their new mission, all of the party members went to their rooms to get some sleep and rest from the long journey.
Meanwhile, Tifa was trying to cheer Red XIII from thinking that he will turn into one of those Black Cape men.
"I don't know what Hojo did to you, but you've been all right so far, right?" she said to Red.
"But..." Red lowered his head.
"Be strong." she said calmly.
"But, I..." he looked up to her.
"Stop it Red! Be strong!" she cried and Red lowered his head.
"Tifa?" Cloud asked bewildered.
"You're not the only one who's worried." She lowered her voice. Cloud saw her concern about Red but he knew that something else was bothering her. She was trying to cheer her friends, but deep down inside she was trying to cheer herself.
"I don't know what's going on, but we're on a bad situation." Caith Sith said before he retired.
"Hey Cid, let's go back to our rooms." Vincent said as he approached to Cid, who was now sleeping in one of the chairs from the lobby. They all went back to their rooms, except for Tifa, who was still struggling with herself. Cloud approached her and tried to bring her back.
"Are you okay?" he asked concerned. Tifa snapped from her thoughts and looked at Cloud surprised.
"Oh, yeah, I'm okay. I was just thinking..." she trailed off and Cloud put a hand on her shoulder to reassure her.
"Don't worry. I'm sure that Red will be just fine." He said with a slight smirk and Tifa smiled back at him. Although, she was worried about the whole situation, somehow she felt safe around Cloud.
A few minutes later, Cloud decided to escort her back to her room to make sure she was okay. Once they reached her room, she began to feel a little bit nervous and tried to hide her blush from him.
"Well, I guess I'll see you in the morning." he said to her.
"Yeah," she nodded. "You've heard Barret. We're starting tomorrow." She shrugged.
"I thought I was the leader." He teased. Tifa giggled after hearing his commentary and then she grabbed her keycard to open her room.
"Well, good-night Cloud." She smiled at him.
"Good-night, Tifa." He also smiled at her and Tifa's cheeks turned pink. Then she entered her room.
Cloud stood there for a moment, just looking at her door and then simply turned around to head back to his room. Meanwhile, Tifa was leaning against the door trying to pull herself back together. The way he smiled at her made her shudder and her heart felt like it was about to burst out of her chest. There was something different about his smile; it wasn't like his usual half smirks.
After a while, she went to her bed and tried to get some sleep. However, she kept thinking about Cloud's smile and that kept her awake for several minutes. She really liked his smile. It was so warm and welcoming. He should smile like that more often, she thought.
Unable to sleep, she rose from her bed and walks around her room. She wanted to spend some time with Cloud so badly, but she just didn't know how to approach him. She remembered that she was in an amusement park and an idea came to her; she flushed at the thought and she felt too embarrassed to even think about going out with him.
After a few minutes struggling with herself, she finally decided to ask him out. She shook her head, took a deep breath, then lifted her head with determination and headed for the door.
She peeked before going outside and then opened the door. With no one else around, she went out and looked for her keycard to lock the room. While she did that, she heard a familiar voice coming from the hallway. She turned around and saw Aerith pushing Cloud out of his room. Surprised, she quickly entered her room to hide from them. She left the door open just a bit so she could peek again.
Apparently, Aerith also had the same idea as her and she went to Cloud's room to ask him out as well. Tifa's face saddened when she saw him leave with her and she pushed the door to close it. She placed her forehead against the door as she listened to their steps. She was too late.
"If only I had thought about it before, this would not be happening." she sighed.
Once again, she opened the door to her room to see if there was nobody in the hallway. She peeps her head to make sure there was no one else around and quickly leaves the room to follow them. Although that Aerith was her best friend, she wasn't willing to lose Cloud to her.
Cloud and Aerith arrived to The Event Square. There was going to be a play for couples and since tonight, all the attractions were for free, they went on to see the show. Tifa saw them enter the tube and she followed them closely to keep an eye on them.
Tifa arrived to the amphitheater and a man approached to Cloud and Aerith.
"Congratulations!" Cloud and Aerith looked at him with a puzzled look. "You are our 100th couple today."
Tifa froze at the word "couple" and she gritted her teeth in anger.
"You two will be the leads in tonight's show!!" he said cheerfully. Cloud's face went into shock when he heard the man say that and Aerith couldn't contain her excitement.
"Oh, now, it's not hard. Just play it however you want and the rest of the cast will cover for you." He finished.
"This sounds like fun." Said Aerith.
"Wha?" Cloud said confused.
"This way please." The man offered.
"Hey..." Cloud managed.
"Come on Cloud, let's give it a try." She said cheerfully and Cloud had no choice but to follow.
Tifa on the other hand was fighting a chuckle when she saw his face from behind the entrance. He looked cute when he's embarrassed, she thought.
When she tried to enter the show, another man came from behind and told her that the only way to enter the show is with a couple. Tifa pleaded the man to let her enter so that she could see the show from afar. She just wanted to make sure that Aerith didn't do anything weird during the play. The man granted her wish and she went ahead to look for a sit.
After the play, Cloud and Aerith went back to the plate to decide for the next attraction. Tifa followed them closely and she was hoping she would pick something less romantic. Unfortunately, she picked the Gondola, and Tifa was worried that Aerith might want to make her move there. There was absolutely no way she could follow them now and she tried to come up with something smart to stop them from entering the Gondola. But there was no use.
When she saw Cloud buy the tickets and entered the Gondola with Aerith, she slowly began to lose hope. It was clear that he also had a thing for the flower girl and Tifa didn't want to ruin that for him. She cared a lot for him enough to respect his choices. If he already decided to give his heart to another girl then she should try to feel happy for him.
She saw the Gondola from below and after a while, she left the place and went to the Battle Square attraction to vent her frustration. After the intense battle, she went to Wonder Square and she bought a few tickets with her GP money. She played a few games and then head back to her room at the Ghost Hotel.
On the way to her room, in all she could think about was in Cloud. She was so jealous of Aerith because she had always been so straight forward and she cursed herself for being so damn shy with her feelings towards Cloud. She knew she was being selfish for wanting to be with him no matter what, but she couldn't help it; she was madly in love with her childhood friend, Cloud Strife.
When she finally arrived at the hallway, her eyes widened in surprise when she saw Cloud escorting Aerith back to her room. She stood there watching her fantasy fade away with every step they took. Aerith opened the door of her room and then turned around to look at Cloud.
"Thanks for the date. I really had fun tonight." She narrowed her eyes and smiled at him.
"Yeah, it was kinda interesting." He scratched the back of his head.
"Well then, Good-night Cloud." She bends forward and presses a soft kiss on his cheek. Cloud's eyes widened in surprised and stood still until he could manage a few words.
"Good-night." He replied with a smirk. Tifa watched the scene with tears on her eyes. She felt something snapped inside her and she simply turned around and walked away.
When Aerith closed her door, Cloud turns around to head back to his room, until he sees Tifa rushing her way out through the hallway. He was surprised to see that she was still awake and he follows her through the hallway. He came downstairs and looked for her in the lobby. He saw her sitting by the fireplace in the waiting rooms.
"Tifa?" he called.
Tifa's heart skipped a beat after hearing his husky voice and then turned around.
"Oh..." her voice trailed off. "Hi Cloud..." She turned her head to look away.
"What are you doing here?" he said as he approached her.
"I uh..." Cloud sat by her side. "I couldn't sleep, so I went for a walk." She said simply.
Cloud scoffed a bit. "Why didn't you tell me go with you?" he smirked.
"I was..." she paused for a moment and Cloud tilted his head to look at her face. "But then I saw you with Aerith..." Her voice trailed off. Cloud's eyes widened after hearing that.
"You... you did?" he said surprised.
"Yeah." Her voice trailed off. "I kinda figured you were on a date, so... I went on my own." She shrugged. Unable to look at her in the eyes, Cloud lowered his head in embarrassment.
"Teef, it wasn't like that... We were just..." he tried to explain.
"It's okay, Cloud. You don't have to explain anything to me." She stood up from the couch and turned her back to him. "I mean," she scoffed. "Is not like WE are dating or something, right?" she did her best to put up a smile.
Cloud looked at her with a puzzled look and then looked down. "Right..." he trailed off.
Although her words were true, deep down inside, he wanted that to be otherwise. He'd always had feelings for her, but now that Aerith was in the picture, everything became so confused.
After a long silence, Tifa decides to go ahead and head back to her room.
"Well, I should try to get some sleep. It's been a long day, so I'm just gonna..."
Cloud grabs her wrist and Tifa stops her tracks without meeting his gaze. She was surprised by his reaction, but then she lowered her gaze sadly.
"Why do I have the feeling that you're upset about something?" he looks up at her while he holds her wrist.
"I'm not." She doesn't turn around. "I'm just tired, that's all."
"You know you can tell me anything, Teef." his voice was soothing.
Tifa let out a soft chuckle before turning around. "I know." she said smiling. She pulled away from his grasp and then leaned forward to press a soft kiss on his forehead. Cloud skipped a bit when he felt the contact with her lips and a slight blush appeared on his cheeks. "I'll see you in the morning, okay?" She smiled warmly and then leaves.
Cloud opens his mouth but the words didn't come out. He wasn't sure what to say to her to make her feel better and he stayed there for a while. He tilted his head bit and when he did so, he saw a few water drops on the floor. At first he thought it was some sort of leaking, but then he realized that they weren't just water drops.
Meanwhile, Tifa arrives to her room in an instant. She took her keycard and opened the door of her room and closed the door behind her. She dropped the keycard to the floor and begins to walk towards the bed. Once she was there, she took off her boots and placed her gloves on the night stand next to her bed. Then, she sat on the edge of her bed and simply bent to the side so she could rest her head on the pillow. She grabbed the pillow tightly and after this, she began to cry bitterly.
There are no words to describe the feeling she was going through. She was heartbroken and there was nothing she could do to stop the tears from falling. She loved Cloud so much, but the fact that he liked another girl was too unbearable for her; even if it was her good friend Aerith. She loved her too, as a friend, but right now she was angry and very jealous of her, because she was the only one capable to move Cloud's heart. Her heart sank into her chest as she continues to cry, overwhelmed by all of this.
She had always been the strong, the cheerful, the caring and the optimist; but none of that mattered at this point, since he will never noticed what she truly feels for him.
"I'm never gonna be good enough for you, am I?" she said to herself.
A few minutes later, she heard a few knocks on her door and she rose from her bed to see who it was. Her face looked like a punching bag and she tried to wipe the tears off before opening the door. When she opened the door, her eyes widened in surprise.
"C-Cloud?" She exclaimed. Cloud also widened his eyes when he saw her face and she quickly turned her face the other way to hide from his gaze. Her hair was all over her face; as if she was trying to cover the tears she had shed. "What... what are you doing here?" she said embarrassed.
As soonest she said that, Cloud threw his arms around her and pulled her close to him. Tifa was shocked by his sudden reaction and she couldn't think or say anything at that moment.
"I knew it..." he muttered. "I knew you were upset about something."
Tifa tried to pull away from his embrace but he tightens the hug even more.
"Cloud, I'm fine..." she managed to say.
"No, you're not." He interrupted her. "I know something's bothering you, I can tell." He pulled away a bit just to look at her in the eye. "What's wrong, Teef?" he asked with concern in his eyes.
"It's nothing." She lowered her head. "I uh..." he tilted his head down so he could see her face and she tried to hide her emotions. "I've just opened a few scars." She trailed off.
Cloud's face was filled with sadness when he heard what she said. It broke his heart to see her like this. He took her hand in his and tries to reassure her.
"Teef, whatever it is," he cupped her cheek with his free hand. "I want you to know that I'm here for you, okay?" he looked into her eyes. A slight blush appeared in her cheeks and she smiled tenderly.
"I know..." she said smiling. "But don't worry; I'm going to be okay. Really, I just need to get some rest." She tried to reassure him.
"Okay." He said simply. "Then I'll stay with you."
Tifa's eyes widened when he said that.
"...w-what?!" she said bewildered.
"I can't go back to my room knowing that you're not okay. I won't be able to sleep."
"But... What about the others? What if they see you in here? What will they think?" she blushed.
"I don't care about the others." He cupped her cheeks with both hands. "Right now, all I care about is you."
Tifa looked at him in the eye. She wanted to believe what he was saying to her, but her heart was aching and she wasn't sure what to do or say at this point.
"I don't like seeing you like this." He lowered his gaze "And I can't help thinking that this is all my fault." His voice trailed off.
"Cloud..." she said softly.
"I need to make sure that you're going to be okay." He took her hands in his and looked at her in the eye. "Please, let me stay with you." His voice was soothing, almost like pleading. Her eyes were locked in his deep blue eyes and she couldn't look away from them. The more she stared at them, the more she was drawn to them. It was like he was staring at her very soul through her eyes. She loved that feeling.
Tifa narrowed her eyes at him and smiled tenderly. She decided to let him stay to calm his heart and he entered the room with her. There were two more beds in the room, but Cloud wasn't planning on sleeping on the other beds. So, they lay down in the same bed. He took one of her hands in his and he intertwined their fingers. They were facing each other and Tifa couldn't help but blush. Cloud smiled tenderly at her and strokes her hair with his other hand. Tifa tried to overcome her shyness by breaking the awkward silence and she asked him about his date with Aerith.
"So... how did it go with Aerith?" she said blushing.
"It was okay." He replied simply.
"Just... okay?" she sounded confused.
"Yeah. We went to see a play at the Event Square and then went for a ride on the Gondola."
"I see..." she tried to keep everything in place as she speaks to him, but her feelings were betraying her.
"Cloud?" she asked softly.
"Hmm...?" he hummed with his eyes closed.
"At the end of the play... How come you didn't kiss the princess?" she asked curious.
Cloud scoffed at this and opened his eyes to see her. "How did you know I was in the play?" he teased.
Oh crap! She thought. She totally forgot that she wasn't supposed to be there and her face blushed even more when she realized that she had screwed up.
"I didn't! I mean... I uh... I saw the announcement and I assumed that you guys were in the play so..." she blushed and Cloud was fighting a chuckle when he saw her cute face.
"Tifa Lockhart, you're such a bad liar, you know?" he teased her.
"Yeah, I get that a lot..." she sighed. Cloud laughed at this and she smiled to see him so happy. It wasn't often to see him smile like that and she was enjoying every minute with him.
"Well, if you must know..." he began and Tifa payed attention to his words. "The reason why I didn't kiss the princess, is because I'm saving myself for someone else." He smirked.
"Really? Who?" she asked curious.
"My own princess." He replied simply.
"I see..." she lowered her gaze after hearing his answer. She was hoping he would say he was saving himself for her, but I guess her fantasy was just too good to be true.
"Speaking of which..." Cloud said afterwards and she arched an eyebrow. "I would really like to kiss my princess now." He smirked and Tifa's eyes widened in surprised after hearing what he said. Cloud cupped her cheek in his hand and caresses her with his thumb. "May I?" he asked softly as he looked at her in the eye with a serious expression on his face. Tifa blushed at him and she simply nodded in response. Cloud smiled and his eyes glowed even more.
Slowly, he begins to approach her and Tifa closed her eyes, waiting for the contact. He pressed a quick, but soft kiss on her lips and her heart skipped a beat.
After the brief contact, she opened her eyes and found his blue eyes, staring at her with deep longing. She wanted to taste more of his lips and she stirred underneath him to look for his lips. The kiss was shy and very gentle. Cloud was about to lose control of himself and couldn't resist the urge to kiss her passionately. She responded the kiss with the same passion as him and they got lost in the moment. After several minutes, they pulled away from their lips to catch their breath. He then took her in his arms and pulled her close to him as he whispered something in her ear.
"I was hoping it was you the one who knocked on my door." He whispered softly and Tifa shuddered upon hearing his words.
"Sorry, I came a bit late." She teased him. Cloud chuckled at this and once again, he searches for her lips. After kissing her for the last time, he pressed a soft kiss on her forehead and she buried her face in his neck. She had always wanted to cuddle with him and now it was her chance to do it.
"Good-night, Rose." He whispered as he buried his face in her hair. Tifa chuckles a bit and then responded.
"Good-night, Alfred." She said smiling.
Cloud tightens the embrace and they fell asleep holding on to each other. She closed her eyes and let herself drifted into sweet slumber. She was now in heaven.