Premonitions II-A: The Long Week of Hell

BY : Hippo_and_Friends_with_Benefits
Category: Final Fantasy VII > General
Dragon prints: 1580
Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy VII or any characters therin. I am making no money off of this work.

Chapter 24: Vows

February 2, 0008

The Wedding Day Arrives

The final guests had arrived by 2:45. To Cloud's amazement, all of the seats were full. The reason for this was, at Tifa's authorization, Elena had invited quite a few people that Cloud and Tifa had only encountered once or twice in their lives. As Cloud and Tifa were practically celebrities for saving the world, nobody would pass up the opportunity to watch them get married.

The people they had encountered in Mideel were in attendence, as was Skrug. Dio was there, along with Joe and Ester from Gold Saucer. Some of Bugenhagen's attendants were there as well. Johnny was even present, along with Yuffie's family, and even the dress maker from Wall Market. It was once incredible reunion.

The greatest stunner among the guests caught Cloud by surprise. Since they needed a ring bearer, Elena had found an orphan to serve the job. But when Cloud saw him for the first time, it turned out that it was not the first time...at least not for Cloud.

"Hi!" greeted the seven-year-old boy. "My name's Denzel! I'll be your ring bearer!"

Cloud was stunned and rather ecstatic to see him. When he had seen him last, he had been...but that no longer mattered. Cloud realized that this was no time to dwell on a timeline that no longer existed.

"It's nice to meet you, Denzel," Cloud replied as he stepped forward and shook hands with him.

The last person to arrive was the obligatory officiant, Bismarck, the Continental Governor. She was dressed in a white pant-suit.

"There's the happy groom!" she greeted.

And then, it was three. The entire backyard could hear the town square clock booming out the hour. The remaining guests took their seats.

It's time, Cloud thought to himself. My bride will be here any minute.

Before that could happen, of course, the procession would have to begin. Barret was the first to come down the aisle, followed by Cid, Reeve, Vincent, and finally Tseng. They stood in line near the altar, to the right.

Then down the aisle came Zack, which resulted in whispers from many guests who were surprised to see that he was, in fact, alive. He was still getting used to that.

Cloud was the next to come down the aisle, resulting in a few applause and cheers from the guests.

Next was Bismarck, the Continental Governor. As word of the Island Gulag had spread through the internet like a wildfire, she received no applause whatsoever. People were already taking bets on how long she would be in prison for her part in the cover-up.

After that, it was the bridesmaids' turn. Jessie came first, followed by Shera (who gave Cid a wink as she walked by), who was, in turn, followed by Yuffie (who gave Zack a smirk as she walked by, reminding him that he was her date). Last came Elena, the maid of honor.

Marlene then slowly came down the aisle, gently spreading flower petals on the ground.

It's really started, Cloud realized. I want to see Tifa.

Denzel followed, with both of the rings. He stood beside Cloud at the alter.

There had been typical wedding music playing over the speakers throughout the procession, but Cloud barely noticed. He was too focused on the patio door, waiting for it to open. He wondered what her dress would look like. He only noticed when the music stopped. That meant that the procession was finished. Everyone involved in the wedding was perfectly in place.

Except for one.

And then, the Bach Cantata began to play.

Every seated guest rose to their feet, and directed their attention to the patio door.

Tifa was standing there, with her left arm locked with Brian's right. Both of her hands carried a bouquet of flowers. Her wedding gown was a strapless A-line, which covered the ground like a blanket as she began to walk down the aisle. She looked incredibly beautiful.

Cloud stared in awe at the beautiful woman walking down the aisle to marry him. She stepped closer to the alter by the moment. And then, they would be each other's for the rest of their lives.

She had a look of strong emotion on her face as she drew closer to the altar. She was so happy she wanted to cry, now that her marriage to Cloud, after all they had been through, was finally happening.

She was twenty feet from the altar.

Then, fifteen feet.

Ten.

It was then that Tifa noticed the ring bearer.

Elena told me she had found an orphan to be in the wedding, she thought. But, my God, is that...Denzel?!

On a closer look, she could tell that it was.

But there would be time to focus on that later. Now, she would focus on Cloud. In a few minutes time, she would be his wife.

She was five feet from the altar.

And, finally, she was there.

Brian smiled warmly as he pulled the veil up and kissed his daughter on the cheek. He then, putting the past behind them completely, firmly shook Cloud's hand, and took his seat.

The cantata finished playing.

Cloud and Tifa faced the Continental Governor. Their time had come.

"Friends and family," Bismark began. "Thank you all for coming on a day that I think is safe to say we've all been waiting for and looking forward to for a long, long time. Please be seated."

The guests quietly sat down. All eyes were focused on the altar.

"Cloud was born," the Continental Governor continued, "right here in Nibelheim, on August 19, 1986. Nine months later, on May 3, 1987, right next door, Tifa followed. Since that day, they have been the best of friends. They were best friends during their childhood. They were best friends during their adolescence. And, as adults, a mere three weeks ago, they were still the best of friends. But then, one night, on the bridge of the Highwind, it all changed. They both admitted that they were in love with each other, and, from that moment on, they were a couple. A short time later, they began to talk about getting married. Sadly, as life does not always work out in its most desired way, they went their separate ways. But fate brought them together again, and Tifa, getting down on one knee, asked Cloud if he would be her husband. That was only a week ago. As they had mutually decided that life was too short to wait any longer, they selected this day to commit their lives to each other."

Bismarck then began to address Cloud and Tifa.

"Please face each other and hold hands," she commanded.

Cloud turned to face his bride and lovingly took her hands in his.

"Cloud, please repeat after me," the Continental Governor began. "I, Cloud Strife," began Bismarck.

"I, Cloud Strife," he repeated.

Here we go, he thought.

"Take you to be my wife," she continued.

"Take you to be my wife."

I can finally call her that.

"To have and to hold."

"To have and to hold."

"For better or for worse."

"For better or for worse."

We've already been through the worst, he realized. It can only get better.

"For richer or poorer."

"For richer or poorer."

"In sickness and in health."

"In sickness and in health."

He thought of the time Tifa had found him exhausted at the Sector Seven Station. He also thought about the time she had put his mind back together.

"And forsaking all others."

"And forsaking all others."

"To love, honor, and cherish."

"To love, honor, and cherish."

He did all three already.

"For as long as we both shall live."

"For as long as we both shall live."

He did not know how long he would live, but he knew that Tifa would be there from now on.

Bismark then turned toward Tifa. "I, Tiffany Clare Lockheart," she began.

"I, Tiffany Clare Lockheart," Tifa repeated.

"Take you to be my husband."

"Take you to be my husband."

My husband, Tifa thought. I've so much wanted to call him that forever.

"To have and to hold."

"To have and to hold," the bride repeated.

"For better or for worse."

"For better or for worse."

No matter how bad things might ever get, Tifa thought, we'll support each other through it all.

"For richer or poorer," continued Bismarck.

"For richer or poorer," Tifa repeated.

I will always feel rich with him, no matter how much money we have.

"In sickness and in health."

"In sickness and in health."

If Cloud does ever get sick, Tifa thought, I will always be there to hold him.

"And forsaking all others."

"And forsaking all others."

"To love, honor, and cherish."

"To love, honor, and cherish."

That's the one thing I know for sure I can do in my life.

"For as long as we both shall live."

"For as long as we both shall live," Tifa finished.

That was the end of the vows.

Both Cloud and Tifa stood in silence, still holding each other's hands, awaiting for what would come next.

"May I please have the rings?" the Continental Governor requested.

Denzel handed her the rings.

She then handed the first ring to Cloud.

"Tifa," Cloud began, "you've been my best friend ever since I first saw you as a baby sitting on your mother's lap. You're a part of all the memories I have. Every birthday, every Halloween, every pivotal moment in my childhood, you were there. In fact, it wouldn't be my life without you. You gave me your best, even when I was at my worst. As a sign of my love, that I have chosen you, above all else, with this ring, I thee wed."

He then took Tifa's left hand, and gently slid the band on her ring finger.

Tifa's heart began to accelerate as she felt the weight of the ring on her finger; they were nearly married now. All that was left was for her to give him his ring. What Cloud had said touched her deeply; she knew that, for him, that took a lot. She felt slightly guilty that she had prepared so much more.

"I'll try to keep this a short as possible," Tifa began. "But I can't promise that, since I have so much to say. Cloud, I proposed to you because I wanted you to know how special you are to me. I still can't believe that only a month ago we were just friends. And now we're here at the altar, about to spend the rest of our lives together. As a child, I was the only girl in town who never went to dance class and played with action figures and video games instead of dolls, so I'm not surprised that my best friend would turn out to be a boy. But I never could have guessed what it would grow into. Cloud, you are my rock. I feel safe going to sleep at night because I know you'll be there next to me when I wake up. I feel happy about going home because I know you're going to be there when I walk in the door. I feel content growing old, because I know you'll be growing old with me. As a sign of my love, that I have chosen you, above all else, with this ring, I thee wed."

Reaching out a slightly trembling hand, Tifa took Cloud's left hand in hers, and slipped the ring on.

They were almost there. There was just one last, small detail.

Cloud's heart was pounding.

So was Tifa's.

The Continental Governor then turned to the audience, and opened her mouth.

This is it! Tifa thought. Just a few seconds more!

"By the power vested in me by the authority of the Western Continent," Bismarck declared, "I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss your bride."

Tifa immediately leaned in and pressed her lips against Cloud's. She then threw her arms around him and buried her head in his shoulder.

They had done it.

They were married.

Tifa could not describe the joy she was feeling at that moment.

The Continental Governor turned to the crowd.

"It is my honored privilege," she began, "to present to you for the very first time, Mr. and Mrs. Strife."

And the guests roared with cheers.

MINUTES LATER...

Cloud and Tifa were taken to the town square for pictures. Upon arriving there, Tifa requested a few moments alone with her new husband from the photographer. As soon as they were by themselves, she placed her hands on Cloud's shoulders and tenderly kissed him. She then lovingly pressed her forehead against his as he gently wrapped his arms around her waist.

Tifa initially attempted to contain her emotions, but, ultimately, lost her ability to do so.

"My God, we're married!" she exclaimed. "We actually did it!"

Cloud, never one for words, said the one thing that truly mattered.

"I love you," he said.

"Oh, Cloud," his new wife replied, "I love you so much!"

The newlyweds kissed again.

After the kiss was broken, Tifa directed her attention to the wedding band that was now on her ring finger.

"We'll never be apart again," she said happily.

"No," Cloud replied. "We won't."

Tifa glanced again at her wedding ring. She then glanced at Cloud's. She wanted to cry in happiness, but she restrained herself as best as she could.

"After all we've been through," she said, holding her tears back, "here we are!"

Cloud and Tifa kissed again.

A moment later, the photographer returned, taking various pictures of the happy couple. The one that stood out to then was one he took of them sitting at the well, just like they used to when they were children.

After many pictures were taken, the clock struck four.

"I guess it's time to get back," Cloud suggested.

"Absolutely!" Tifa agreed with a smile. "We'll have our first dance, cut the cake, and toss the bouquet and garter."

"Sounds perfect," he said.

"After that..." she began with a smirk.

Cloud could quickly tell what she was thinking.

"That's when you want to do...that thing?" he asked.

Tifa nodded.

"Cloud," she began, "are you sure you're okay with it? I thought I might actually drive you away when I texted it to you last night."

"I'm sure," he replied. "It's a wonderful thing to do."

Smiling, husband and wife took each other's hands and made their way back to the venue.



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