Premonitions II-A: The Long Week of Hell

BY : Hippo_and_Friends_with_Benefits
Category: Final Fantasy VII > General
Dragon prints: 1604
Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy VII or any characters therin. I am making no money off of this work.

Chapter 22: The Morning Of

February 2, 0008

The Wedding Day Arrives

CLOUD

Cloud stirred before anyone else. He had been sleeping on Tseng's living-room couch as he stood up and made his way to the kitchen. Quietly, he poured himself a glass of water and drank it down. He was still amazed at all he had been through in the past seven weeks.

"You're up early," said a familiar voice.

Cloud turned to see Zack entering the kitchen. He was still having a hard time believing that his old friend was still alive.

"I'm a light sleeper," he replied softly.

"What's on your mind?" Zack asked, sensing something was off.

Cloud gave him a solemn look.

"I got a text from Tifa late last night," he replied. "Something I didn't see coming."

Zack gasped, fearing the worst.

"Th-the wedding's still on, right?!" he asked in concern.

"Of course the wedding's still on," Cloud replied.

"But?" Zack asked.

In response Cloud showed him the text.

Zack's eyes widened as he scanned what Tifa had texted Cloud. He had never heard of such an idea in his life.

"You're okay with that?" he asked.

Cloud nodded.

"It's only fair," he replied.

"You think they will be okay with that?" Zack inquired.

"One way to find out," Cloud answered.

"I was suspecting it for a long time," Zack admitted. "A lot of unexpected stuff is happening. I certainly didn't think Yuffie would be my wedding date."

"I didn't know you knew Yuffie," Cloud said.

"Yeah, it was kind of complicated," Zack pointed out. "We made that deal when you were out of it back in Costa del Sol. She gave me boarding passes for a barge to the Eastern Continent in exchange for a date."

"Listen, Zack," Cloud began, "I tried to be your living legacy, but I kind of screwed it up. I ended up thinking I was you. I was telling everyone I was in SOLDIER. And there was worse, believe me."

"You came to your senses, didn't you?" Zack asked.

"Only when Sephiroth showed me a vision of you entering Nibelheim, and told me a made-up story that I was created five years ago," Cloud replied.

"You mean like Karnak?" Zack inquired.

"So that's where he got the idea," Cloud realized aloud. "So Sephiroth actually survived the Nibelheim incident, and-"

"Cloud," Zack interjected, "I know we have a lot of catching up to do. But for now, you need to marry the girl of your dreams. I've never seen Tifa so happy until you two were finally together."

"Neither have I," Cloud agreed.

"Did she ever find out that was you at Nibelheim?" Zack asked.

"She sure did," Cloud replied.

"I see Tseng's mellowed out and found a girlfriend," Zack observed. "You should've known him while I was looking for Genesis."

"He has changed," Cloud said. "He wound up a groomsman for the wedding."

"And who's your best man?" Zack continued.

Cloud rolled his shoulders and looked at Zack sheepishly. It was time to tell him.

"Well," he replied, "this is where it gets really complicated. You are."

"I am?!" Zack exclaimed.

"Well," Cloud continued. "I thought you were dead, and Tifa told me about all you did for me when I was a vegetable. So I made you my best man in absentia. But now, you're no longer absent."

"I'm honored, Cloud," Zack finally said. "But...what do I have to do?"

"It's short notice, I know," Cloud replied. "Look, just stand by my side as I take my vows."

"That's it?" Zack asked.

"That's it," Cloud answered.

It was all he needed. Zack had given him so much already.

Cloud felt truly blessed to have a friend like Zack.

But he felt even more blessed to be marrying Tifa. She had been his best friend for twenty years. She had stood beside him for all that time, and had even proposed to him after he had gone astray.

He felt like the luckiest man alive.

SAGE

Reeve awoke to the sight of Sage, standing on her bed, in her pajamas and twirling a baton. He was surprised to see such a sight; nobody, to his knowledge, had taught her how to twirl. She was graceful and beautiful at the same time. Reeve could watch it all day; he did not even object to his daughter standing on the bed.

A couple of minutes later, when Parker awoke, it was another story.

"What are you doing up there?!" he demanded.

"Twirling!" Sage giggled.

"Get down from there before you break your neck!" Parker demanded.

Sage immediately jumped down to the floor.

"People below probably heard that," Reeve said.

"What made you bring that here, anyway?" Parker inquired.

"I can't dance," Sage replied. "So I'll twirl my baton when everybody's dancing. That way, I can at least do something instead of just standing there."

"Where did you learn to do that?" Parker asked.

"It just came naturally," she replied as she blinked her beautiful green eyes. "It's a great way I can get noticed!"

"Noticed?" asked Reeve.

"In case there's a cute boy or girl there who might want to make a date with me," Sage explained.

"Sage," began Parker, "how old are you?"

"Eleven," she replied. "Why?"

"I think you're a little to young to think about dating," Parker replied. "Wait until you're thirteen or fourteen."

"But Cloud and Tifa knew each other when they were eleven!" Sage protested.

"That's different," Reeve insisted. "Cloud and Tifa weren't even a couple until three weeks ago."

"So maybe I can get married three weeks from now!" she exclaimed.

"Cloud and Tifa are a unique case," Reeve explained. "They knew each other for most of Cloud's life and all of Tifa's. They might have only been a couple for three weeks, but their feelings were around much longer. You'll understand when your older."

Sage lowered her head in sheer disappointment.

Reeve got up out of bed, went up to his daughter, and lifted her chin up.

"Be a kid," he commanded with a smile. "Cloud and Tifa had a whole childhood before they got together. Maybe sometime they could show your their birthday and Halloween pictures. They go back a long time."

"Okay," she said softly.

Reeve stroked her hair. He realized that she looked exactly like him, except for the chestnut hair, and the beautiful, green eyes. Someday, he would tell her of her origins.

"Oh, dad?" began Sage. "One more thing?"

"Go ahead," Reeve permitted.

"Is it true all the couples are going to make sex after the wedding?" she asked.

Reeve sighed and put his hand in his face.

"Go shower and get dressed," he sighed. "Your dress is hanging in the bathroom."

Sage shrugged her shoulders and began to make her way to the bathroom. Halfway there, she happened to pass the television. Unable to resist, Sage switched it on.

"Tonight at nine," the trailer announced, "in the television event of the decade: Putty the Little Dog is Putty the Little Dog in Behind Enemy Gas."

"Ew!" exclaimed Sage. "That show is so disgusting!"

Reeve immediately ran over and snapped off the television.

"Don't worry, I don't want to watch it," she assured him. "No girl in her right mind would!"

"Shower, now!" he exclaimed. "And get your dress on!"

Sage huffed and marched to the bathroom, slamming the door shut after arriving.

TIFA

Tifa was out cold on the parlor sofa. She had been up late that night, with what she had texted Cloud on her mind. She did eventually fall asleep shortly before midnight, and was still asleep at ten.

Elena stood over her. As her maid of honor, it was her job to make sure she was up at a decent time.

"Bride," she whispered.

Tifa's eyes slowly opened, and Elena, along with her other surroundings, peacefully came into focus. Elena, Yuffie, Shera, and Jessie were all awake, having all already cleaned up, and were wearing robes that shimmered and showed off their legs quite generously.

And then, it hit her.

This is my wedding day! she realized. Today's the day Cloud and I get married!

"Do I have to?" Tifa laughed with a big, beautiful smile on her face.

"Unless you want to get hitched in your PJs," Elena replied.

Tifa, still smiling, rose to her feet. It felt as if she had been waiting for this day forever. The reality was setting in.

"I'd rather not," Tifa replied. "A wedding dress is one of the few places I remain traditional."

"Go and shower," Elena commanded. "It's your last chance to be naked alone for a while."

Tifa blushed and nodded.

That reality was setting in as well.

LATER...

Tifa returned to the parlor in a white bridal robe that read "Mrs." on the back. Much like her bridesmaids' robes, it was rather short, but it did not bother Tifa as long as nobody could see her underwear. She quietly sat in the chair and let her bridesmaids take it from that point as the grandfather clock chimed the hours that the unmarried Tifa Lockheart would hear for the final time.

It was Jessie who applied the makeup as the clock chimed eleven.

"This is the girliest thing you'll ever see me do," she said.

She applied the blush and the mascara. She applied the lipstick and eyeliner.

Tifa had never worn so much makeup in her life, and did not expect to ever again. She was never a makeup or jewelry person; she had not even had her ears pierced until she was nineteen.

Once the makeup was applied, Shera began to paint Tifa's nails, both on her fingers and her toes a bright red.

The clock chimed twelve; she would take her vows at three.

Tifa realized she had never looked more feminine in her life. She remembered growing up more or less a tomboy, and, even as an adult, refrained from adhering to traditional gender roles as much as humanly possible. But today, she was content with being a lady.

That was ruined, however, as the television, which had happened to be on, intruded in the atmosphere.

"Tonight at nine," the trailer announced, "in the television event of the decade: Putty the Little Dog is Putty the Little dog in Behind Enemy Gas."

"That's the only downside to this day," Tifa sighed. "I'll have to stream Behind Enemy Gas when we get home."

"You find that funny?" Jessie asked. "That show's gross!"

"That's hilarious!" Tifa insisted. "I kill myself laughing every time!"

That was a thing about Tifa; as much as she loved horror movies, she loved low comedy.

"Even I think that show's immature," Yuffie pointed out. "But whatever floats your boat."

"Hey," Elena said, "as long as it makes Cloud happy, right?"

"I suppose," Yuffie agreed.

Elena was right; Cloud accepted Tifa's love for low comedy and all of her other crazy antics. She realized how lucky she was to have him.

"Hey," added Shera, "I'm an NWV and Cid still loves me!"

"An NWV?" asked Jessie.

"Nerd with a vagina," Shera clarified.

Tifa laughed.

She then turned her head towards the patio. It seemed as if the altar was calling her.

TOBIN

Tobin awoke later in the morning. He was somewhat surprised to be waking up in his own bed in his own room; for the past several weeks, he had been sleeping on an uncomfortable mattress and confined to a small space. Whenever he had awoken then, he had to treat each and every day as if it would be his last. But now, he was home.

He made his way to the bathroom and showered, dressing for the wedding afterward. He laughed at himself; there were times he had thought it would be pointless to write the journal. Now he was relieved that he had; otherwise, he would be waking up this morning still in his cell on the sixth floor of the Island Gulag, missing his cousin's wedding. And, eventually, he would die there.

As he exited his bedroom and stepped into the common area, a pleasing sight greeted his eyes.

Cissnei was standing there, having showered herself. She was no longer the disheveled individual he had met the night before. Her hair had gone from a dirty brown to the reddish brown he had been familiar with. She was wearing a yellow spaghetti-strap dress that stopped above her knees, with heels to match. He could smell her perfume from the other end of the room. It was the girliest he had ever seen her dress.

"Hey!" she greeted with a smile.

How she looked had really gotten Tobin by surprise.

"What happened?" he asked, of course referring to her return to normal.

"You came back," she replied with a smile. "That's what happened!" She then went up to Tobin and hugged him. "Sorry if I hug you too much," she apologized, "but I need to be sure this is not a dream."

"It's not," Tobin replied. "No need to apologize. It's better than pinching me."

In response, Cissnei playfully reached behind Tobin's neck and pinched the back of it.

"Hey!" he playfully exclaimed.

Cissnei simply smiled.

"Come on, best friend," she said happily. "Let's go watch your cousin get married."

Tobin nodded with a smile. Tifa was the closest he had to a sister; he was looking forward to seeing her live happily ever after.

"Your parents will be there, won't they?" she asked.

"I think so," he replied.

"Won't they be happy to see you!" she exclaimed. "And I finally get to meet them."

"They'll like you," he said. "If Zack's parents liked you, mine will."

Cissnei smiled, took her car keys, and happily made her way out the door.

Tobin remained standing alone in the apartment, scanning his surroundings. He really was home. It was a good feeling, but...

"Tobin!" Cissnei reprimanded in a friendly manner, poking her head in the doorway. "You don't want to miss your cousin walk down the aisle, do you? She's going to be a beautiful bride!"

"Sorry," Tobin apologized. "My mind was elsewhere."

"No worries," she assured him. "You've been through a lot."

"I'm coming," he said as he followed his friend out the door.

"So I was thinking," Cissnei continued as they walked down the hall, "after the wedding, want to go to Xing for karaoke? We haven't done that in a while."

"Sure," Tobin replied softly. "I'd like that."

And then, suddenly, Cissnei firmly grabbed his arm.

"Sorry," she apologized. "I tripped. I'm not used to wearing heels."

She was able to walk the rest of the way on her own.

To Tobin, it was almost like he had never been captured.

It was a good feeling to be home, but...something in Tobin's mind...bothered him...



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