Premonitions II-A: The Long Week of Hell

BY : Hippo_and_Friends_with_Benefits
Category: Final Fantasy VII > General
Dragon prints: 1664
Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy VII or any characters therin. I am making no money off of this work.

Chapter 29: The Day After

Sunday, February 3, 0008

7:00 a.m.

Tifa awoke.

As the world faded into view, the first thing she saw was Cloud's face; he was laying next to her, on his back, still fast asleep. She smiled at the sight; she had been waking up next to him for a week now, and it never got old. Sometimes, she felt like she could spend a great deal of time simply watching her love in slumber.

She then spotted his bare chest, and was briefly perplexed.

Cloud never sleeps with his shirt off, she thought.

She then scanned his body to below his waist, and suddenly became surprised.  Cloud was completely naked, and making no effort to hide himself; his penis was out in full view.   And then, she realized that she herself did not have a strip of clothing on. Slowly, the reality came back to her.

Last night was our wedding night, she remembered. It seemed to good to be true, but here we are!

Tifa had never slept naked before. The feeling of the sheets on her bare skin was new to her. She looked at her hand; her wedding band was still there. Rising to her knees, she noticed the identical band on Cloud's hand. After all that time, she finally felt she was where she belonged.

And then, Cloud slowly opened his eyes.

A wave of love rushed through Tifa as she bent down and kissed him on the mouth.

"Good morning, love," she said with a smile.

"Morning," he groggily replied.

"Sleep well?" she asked with a smile.

"Sure did," he replied.

Tifa bent down and kissed him again. She then got off the bed and stood up. She turned around and stretched, giving Cloud a decent view of her bare backside. She then made her way over to the window, peering out at the ocean beyond the dock.

"It's so tempting," she said.

"What?" Cloud asked.

In response, Tifa turned around to face him, putting her hand on her bare hip. She stood before him naked, most definitely welcoming him to look at her.

"The water," she clarified. "It looks so clear, and it can't be cold. I'd kind of like to go for a swim if you're up for it."

"I think I am," Cloud replied with a smile. "You like skinny dipping?"

"I've never done it before!" Tifa laughed.

Cloud sat up.

"That's going to change today," he said.

Tifa nodded.

"I'll race you," she suggested with a grin.

"You're on," he replied.

"Perfect!" she announced as she immediately darted out of the bedroom.

"Hey!" Cloud exclaimed as he jumped out of the bed and began to chase after his wife. "You didn't give me the count off!"

"Life isn't fair, bud!" she laughed as she ran into the sitting room and disappeared down the spiral, wooden steps.

Cloud quickly followed her down, to the path, and beyond. Looking at the naked Tifa running down the boardwalk kept Cloud from checking for any objects below; he was fortunate the deck was clear.

And then, Tifa disappeared over the edge, followed by a splash.

Cloud reached the edge, closed his eyes, and jumped over himself. He then opened his eyes and beheld the underwater wonderland that now surrounded him. The water was perfectly clear. He could see beautifully colored fish swimming about, and kelp sporadically growing from the ground.

And, in front of him, was his wife.

Her hair, being underwater, spread in all directions. Her perfect, exposed breasts bobbed with the current.

She smiled at him for a moment. She then placed her hands on his shoulders, leaned in, and kissed him deeply.

"I love you," she mouthed before kissing him again, even more deeply than before.

And then, she suddenly darted upward to the surface.

Cloud followed her, gasping for breath once his head was above the water.

"Sorry!" she gasped as her now soaked hair began to drip on her bare shoulders. "We can't stay under there forever!"

"I figured," he replied.

"Kiss me," Tifa commanded.

Cloud obeyed.

Cloud and Tifa continued to kiss and swim for an hour. Then, they decided it was time to get out of the clear ocean water.

Tifa climbed the ladder on the side of the dock. Cloud followed her, allowing himself to view her from behind as she wrung her hair.

"How about I make dinner tonight?" she suggested as she continued to squeeze her long, brown hair, causing water to splatter on the dock.

"I thought you told me you couldn't cook to save your life," Cloud reminded her.

"Not on the stove," she corrected. "On that."

Cloud looked to see the gas grill a few yards away from the spiral staircase.

"Tobin showed me how to grill when we were training with Zangan," Tifa explained.

And then, goosebumps began to appear all over her body.

The two of them climbed the stairs, with Tifa leading him up by the hand. When the reached the top, Tifa pulled him in and held him close.

"Your skin," she whispered.

The skin contact made her feel close to him, and strong emotions fired through her mind. It was the most intimate she felt with him.

After remaining in that position for several minutes, kissing many times as they did, Tifa broke the embrace and walked past him.

Cloud stood still as Tifa walked into the bathroom. He then suddenly heard the shower start. He turned around to see her nude figure through the glass door. It was beautiful. It was sexy. He had to get in there.

"Can I come in?" he asked.

"Are you my husband?" she asked in response.

"Yes," he replied.

"Then get your naked butt in here!" she commanded.

Cloud quickly opened the glass shower door and stepped in behind Tifa. He wrapped his arms around her, and began to rock her gently.

Tifa smiled and relaxed in his arms; she had been looking forward to their first shower together as well.

And then, Cloud spotted the seat coming out of the shower wall.

"I want to bathe you," he said.

"Bathe me?" she asked skeptically.

"It's really romantic," he assured her. "Trust me."

He led her to the seat, and sat her down on his lap, wrapping one arm around her midriff and grabbing soap with the other.

Tifa was an independent woman, and was never fond of being taken care of. Still, she loved him, and wanted him to have the experience.

Cloud took the soap and began to rub it on her bare back. He then moved to her shoulders.

This isn't so bad, Tifa realized. Actually, I'm starting to like this.

He then lathered his hands, rubbing them on her arms, followed by her midriff, and, finally her breasts.

Tifa gasped; the act was indeed a turn-on. Still, she needed to control herself. The sex would come later.

"Stand up," he gently commanded.

Tifa did as she was told, and soon felt Cloud's soapy hands at her feet, slowly working their way up to her knees, her thighs, and finally her butt.

She gasped again; she never expected the moment to be so sensual.

Cloud then stood up. He squeezed the shampoo, and began to gently lather her hair. Once that was done, he turned her around, allowing the water to rinse out her beautiful hair.

Tifa then wrapped her arms around Cloud, kissed him, and held him close, resting her head on his chest.

"That was incredible," she whispered. She then made eye contact with her husband. "Can I bathe you?"

"Of course," he replied.

Smiling, Tifa sat down on the seat, sitting Cloud on her lap this time.

"Just relax," she said as she grabbed the soap.

She bathed her love exactly the way he bathed her. Once he was rinsed, they shut off the water, and dried each other off. Tifa then took the hair dryer and began to dry her hair. After that, she put on a bra, followed by her crop top that read "Wifey" on the front.

"Just for a few hours," she assured him. "I kind of already ordered it when I found out we were booked here."

"No worries," Cloud assured her. "Cartoon animal style, right?"

Tifa smiled, placed her hands on his shoulders, and kissed him. She then glanced at the television.

"So," she began with a smile, "up for a game of Mousetrap?"

"Of course," he replied.

Tifa set the game up and sat down on the floor.

Cloud stood in place, smiling at her. She might be his wife now, but she would always be his best friend as well.

"Quit staring at my butt crack," Tifa suddenly commanded.

Cloud blushed and sat down next to her.

8:00 a.m.

Tobin slowly opened his eyes.

His wife, Mrs. Alicia Lockheart, or Cissnei, as he had always known her, was facing him. Her eyes were closed, but she was smiling. Her shoulders were bare, reminding him that they were both naked. Her hand was resting in front of her face, with a beautiful wedding band on her ring finger.

And then, her beautiful brown eyes opened as well, and her smile grew wider.

"Hi!" she softly whispered before immediately wrapping her arm around him and pulling him close.

"Hi!" Tobin greeted back as he wrapped his own arm around her bare waist.

"I was afraid to wake up," she continued to whisper. "I was afraid that I would wake up alone, and that it had all been a dream."

"Me, too," Tobin admitted. "It did seem kind of too good to be true.

"Thank God it wasn't!" Cissnei laughed before pressing her lips against his.

Tobin then pinched her bare butt.

"Hey!" she exclaimed. "Excuse you!"

"Just making sure," he said innocently.

The newlyweds continued to snuggle for a few minutes before Cissnei sat up.

"You hungry?" she asked.

"Getting there," he replied.

"I can make us breakfast," she offered. "And that will be a first. I've never made breakfast in the nude before."

She then stood up, and led her husband to the kitchen. As she had said, she made breakfast in the nude, a first time for her.

They both then had breakfast in the nude, a first time for both of them.

Finally, Cissnei stood up and washed the dishes in the nude, another first time for her.

Tobin, meanwhile, remained seated at the kitchen table. As he continued to stare at the naked Cissnei washing the dishes, a naughty idea popped into his mind. He quietly got up, made his way over to his wife, and grabbed her bare hips.

"Tobin?!" she exclaimed in surprise.

And he began to kiss her neck.

And she began to enjoy the moment.

9:00 a.m.

In their Midgar hotel, Cid and Shera awoke at the same time.

"Hey there!" Shera greeted.

"Hey yourself," Cid replied, before remembering what day it was. "Happy birthday." He then quickly smacked her bare backside.

"Ow!" she exclaimed as she clutched the exposed flesh her boyfriend had slapped. "My butt! My butt!"

"Sorry!" he fake apologized.

"Yeah right," Shera sighed. "Now my butt hurts!" She paused. "And my boobs." She then placed a hand on her breasts through her shirt. "I think I slept with my bra on," Shera observed.

"We kind of passed out," Cid reminded her. "It got kind of wild."

Shera then touched her face. "And my glasses," she added.

"At least you didn't have to look for them!" he pointed out.

She then looked down at her feet. "And my shoes. That's a first."

"And you still slept," Cid mentioned.

"How could I not?" she asked. "We got to the next level of comfort."

"Next level of comfort?" he asked, realizing she was being her geeky self again.

"We broke the sex barrier," Shera replied. "That's another level of comfort with each other."

She got up out of bed, turned around, and stretched. She then walked into the bathroom. She looked into the mirror, briefly checking her face. Then she sat on the toilet.

"What are you doing?" Cid inquired.

"Breaking the next barrier and moving to the next level of comfort," she replied. "Going to the bathroom in front of each other."

With that, she smiled, and began to pee.

Cid groaned and dropped his head on his pillow. He was not ready for that.

10:00 a.m.

Tifa dropped the dice and allowed them to roll.

"Seven," she said as she moved her token head seven spaces. "Your turn."

Cloud dutifully rolled. He was distracted, of course, as he kept glancing at Tifa's exposed lower half. He got two ones.

"Ooh," Tifa playfully taunted. "Snake eyes!"

The newlyweds were on the dock and on their knees, facing each other and playing a board game. Tifa still had her "Wifey" crop top on, but the fact that she was not wearing pants kept causing Cloud to look when he could, though he usually could not see more than her hips, legs, and, when she bent down to pick up the dice, the top of her butt cleavage. She would sit up every few turns, officially to stretch and fix her hair, unofficially to give Cloud a better view of her lower half, and to give herself a better view of the fully naked Cloud.

This routine went on for a couple of hours. Then, Tifa began to laugh softly to herself.

"What?" asked Cloud.

"When was the last time we played a board game?" Tifa asked with a smile.

"I was seven and you were six," he replied. "Before we had our gaming systems."

"We do go back that far, don't we?" she said as she picked up the dice.

It was one of Tifa's favorite thoughts. Most couples who end up married meet during late adolescence or early adulthood. But, in her life, Cloud was onstage from Scene One.

Smiling, she rolled the dice, and moved her token to the finish space.

"I won!" Tifa gloated.

"What do I have to do now?" Cloud playfully asked.

"Kiss me," she replied with a smile.

Smiling back, he pressed his lips against hers.

"Anything else?" he asked.

"You have to go back there," she replied as she pointed her thumb in the respective direction.

"Why back there?" he asked.

"Because I want to have sex now," she replied with a seductive smile. "That's why."

Without verbally responding, Cloud quickly nodded.

11:00 a.m.

Cissnei nestled her head against Tobin's chest as they cuddled on the kitchen floor, somewhat worn out from their lovemaking.

"Well," she began, "we've christened the kitchen."

"That just leaves the living-room," replied Tobin. "And the my old room."

She smiled at him happily for a few moments. The she sat up, looked lovingly down at Tobin, and began to stroke his hair.

"I'm so sorry I never told you how I felt," she apologized. "I mean, it was in my heart the whole time, but I just didn't know it."

Tobin then sat up himself. He took both of her hands in his.

"It's okay," he assured her. "Better late than never, right?"

Cissnei smiled. She then stood up, and helped Tobin to his feet.

"Come on," she commanded gently. "Let's take a shower together."

With that, she wrapped her arm around his lower back held him close. She then gently led him through the bedroom, into the bathroom, and into the shower. She turned on the water and, without asking, began to bathe him. She had years worth of love bottled up in her; she needed to release it.

He bathed her afterward. He then spotted the concrete seat, and another naughty idea popped into his mind. He sat down, and looked at his wife seductively.

"I'd like to go again," he said with a smile.

"I'd like to, too," she said with a bigger smile as she placed her hands on his shoulders. "Ready to christen the shower?"

12:00 p.m.

Yuffie and Zack sat silently in the hotel restaurant in Rocket Town. It was noon the next day; their "date" had been expired for twelve hours. They sat across from each other, eating their lunch, spending virtually the whole meal in silence. Neither of them could believe they had sex the previous night.

"Better not tell anybody," Yuffie finally warned.

"Better not, either," Zack warned back.

"Well," she said, "it's me for Wutai. So where to now for you? Nibelheim?"

"I guess," he replied.

"Hey!" she suddenly realized out loud. "Don't you have parents somewhere? In Gongaga?"

"If they're still alive," he replied. "And how did you know that?"

"Because I've met them!" Yuffie answered. "They are still alive. Or at least they were back in December. You should go to them! They'd be happy to see you!"

"I dunno," Zack muttered.

"You don't know?!" she echoed.

"I mean, a lot of people did a lot of crazy stuff when Meteor was summoned. Myself included. I don't want to go there just to find out they killed themselves or died for a cause more bizarre than mine."

"But you don't know that," Yuffie insisted.

"No," Zack agreed. "I don't."

"There's only one way to find out," she reminded him.

"I'll think about it," he said.

Zack and Yuffie paid their separate checks.

Zack stood up, and walked away from the booth he had been sitting at. Now, there was nothing left to do but begin the return trip to Nibelheim.

And it was then that he felt something. Something he had not been expecting to feel.

It was Yuffie's hand, holding his.

"Why are you holding my hand?" she asked.

Zack gave her a look.

"Why are you holding my hand?" he responded.

He attempted to walk away, but Yuffie's grip remained.

"You're not letting go," he pointed out.

"Neither are you," she responded.

They both stood there for a few moments, waiting for the other person to release their grasp. But neither did.

"What's going on here?" Zack inquired out loud. "I thought we were only a couple until midnight?

The two of them pondered the enigma for a few moments.

"I think I know what happened," Yuffie then replied.

"What?"

"I think we've remained a couple."

"We've remained a couple?!" he asked.

"Mmm-hmm," Yuffie replied as she turned to face him.

And then, Zack realized that he had every opportunity to let go of Yuffie's hand. Yet, he did not. It had to be true.

"How did this happen?" he asked.

"That's the thing," she answered. "It just happened."

Zack was silent; this wedding date had really run away with itself.

"So what now?" he asked.

"Well," Yuffie answered, "you could let your girlfriend walk you back to Nibelheim."

"Do I have a choice?" he asked.

"No," she replied, "you don't. Tifa was right. This changed history thing kicks some serious ass."

1:00 p.m.

Tifa opened her eyes. The world focused for her a lot quicker than the previous time in the morning. The first thing she felt was the hard, wooden surface of the dock, and the first thing she saw was her naked husband, already awake and sitting up.

"Hey there!" Cloud softly greeted.

"Did I fall asleep?" she asked.

Cloud nodded the affirmative.

"I don't believe it," she sighed. "And I really did hear that was men who did that. I never knew women did, too."

"Neither did I," he admitted before standing up and helping Tifa to her feet.

"Want to explore the island?" she suggested.

"Sure," he agreed.

Smiling, she took his hand and led him on.

The island was surrounded by beaches, with modest foliage in the interior. About a quarter of the way around the island, Cloud and Tifa happened upon a swimming pool that was surrounded by a concrete asphalt.

"There's a pool here?" Tifa asked aloud. "With all these beaches everywhere?"

"Some people prefer fresh water," Cloud pointed out.

Tifa approached the pool and cautiously stuck her toe in. She withdrew it immediately.

"It's freezing!" she exclaimed. "I'd prefer the beach if it's okay with you."

Cloud nodded.

They came across a mini-golf course halfway around the island.

Tifa immediately gave Cloud a sweet and innocent look.

"Can we, Cloud?" she playfully pleaded.

Cloud sighed.

"We played mini golf at your sixth birthday party," he reminded her. "How would this be any different?"

"We had clothes on," Tifa laughed.

He sighed again in defeat.

"You got me there."

It turned out to be more of a treat for Tifa. She allowed her husband to go first, and ended up with a generous view of his naked body each turn.

After the round, they walked the beach for another half hour before finding themselves back at the cabin. Tifa began to lead him up the stairs, but suddenly stopped, and turned around to address him. She folded her hands behind her and made a flirty gesture.

"Do you want to have sex again tonight?" she asked.

"You bet," Cloud replied with a grin.

He noticed the flirty body language. He noticed how she had stopped a couple of stairs above him and turned around, giving him a view of her exposed lower half.  He focused his attention on the dark patch of her pubic hair.  He wondered something.

"Maybe I can give you a little treat right now," he continued seductively.

He then opened his mouth, and made a naughty gesture with his tongue.

Tifa gasped and quickly turned around.

"N-no, I don't like that," she quickly rebuffed, and quickly went to the top of the stairs.

She immediately sat down on the sofa and buried her face in her hands.

Cloud quickly entered the sitting room and knelt down to her level. He could see that she was not crying.

"I'm sorry," he apologized.

"No," she dismissed, "I'm sorry. I'm so embarrassed." She lowered her hands from her face.

Cloud smiled at her and stroked her hair.

"It's okay," he assured her.

Tifa quietly placed her hand on his bare shoulder.

"I'm sorry I'm not into kinky stuff," she continued. "That's just me."

In response, Cloud stood up, and helped Tifa to her feet. He wrapped his hands around her bare waist and hugged her tightly.

"I didn't marry you for the sex," he said to her gently. "I married you because you're my best friend."

Tifa looked up at her husband.

"Cloud," she began, "maybe some other time-"

"There doesn't have to be another time," he interjected. "If you don't like that, I can do without it. I'm here for your companionship. I want to spend the rest of my life with my best friend. That's all."

Tifa's eyes moistened before she firmly pressed her lips against his. She then took a step back as a tear escaped her eye.

"Thanks for taking me as I am," she said.

"I'll always take you as you are," he affirmed.

Tifa smiled, and reached behind herself.

"I'll take this shirt off," she said aloud as she discarded both her crop top and her bra, leaving herself naked once again. She then glanced at the television. "Up for another game of Mousetrap?"

3:00 p.m.

Cissnei lay on her stomach on her bed. She had her arm around Tobin, who was laying on his back. They had been there for the past several hours, still taking in what had happened during the previous day.

"Are we just going to lay here naked all day?" Cissnei playfully asked.

"Is that a problem?" asked Tobin.

"No way!" she laughed before kissing him. "But we could at least plan the honeymoon."

"We decided on Costa del Sol, didn't we?" he asked.

"I know," she said. "But how long do you want to stay there?"

"A week, if that's okay with you," he replied.

"It's okay with me," she agreed. "And if you're good, I'll wear a thong."

She felt a tingle inside from saying that; it made her realized how their relationship had just changed, now that she was saying sexy things to him.

"So," Tobin began, "after the honeymoon...what to we do?"

"You're still publishing your memoir, right?" Cissnei asked.

"Of course," Tobin replied.

"I think we have the perfect ending now!" she laughed before kissing him.

"I agree," he concurred. "We'll end it with our surprise wedding. Nobody will see that coming."

"We certainly didn't!" she said with a smile.

And then, she became quiet. There was something that had popped into her head a few hours after they had taken their vows, but so much had happened that she had never gotten the chance to bring it up. She realized that it was something she should have asked before they had gotten married, but, unlike most weddings, theirs did not come on cue.

"Well," she began, realizing that it needed to be addressed, "what would you think about an epilogue?"

"An epilogue after the wedding?" he asked. "What do you mean?"

Cissnei gently took his hand.

"Kids, of course," she replied.

"You want kids?" Tobin asked.

"Of course I want kids!" she replied. "Don't you?"

"Certainly," he said.

Cissnei smiled; it was a relief they had the same goals in that matter.

Simultaneously, they turned on their sides to face each other.

"I love you," she said to him as her eyes glistened.

"I love you, too," he replied, before kissing her.

4:00 p.m.

The knock sounded the front door to the modest house located in North Corel.

Barret got up off the sofa and headed for the door; nobody had ever came calling.

Who the hell is this? he thought. Sure as shit can't be Cloud and Tifa. 

He reached the door, and opened it, immediately seeing a familiar face standing before him.

"Jessie?"

"Hey, Barret," she greeted.

"I though you went home," he said.

"I did," she affirmed. "Last night. And then, today, I came here."

"To this shithole?" he exclaimed. "Why?"

"Because I wanted to see you," Jessie replied.

With that, she smiled, and hugged him.

Unaware to either party, Marlene was hiding behind the corner, eavesdropping. She was four years old, but she was not naive.

Do they...like each other? she thought to herself.

5:00 p.m.

Cloud sat on the picnic table as Tifa stood in front of the grill, flipping hamburgers with her spatula. The rear view of his naked wife cooking was tempting, but he knew he needed to control himself; now was not a good time.

"Need any help?" he asked, mainly to hide the fact that he was staring at her.

"I've grilled before," Tifa replied. "Not in the nude, though!"

Cloud continued to watch as she took each hamburger off the grill and put it on a plate.

She was beautiful.

And she loved him with all her heart.

He simply couldn't resist.

Cloud stood up and made his way to Tifa, wrapping his arms around her as he did so.

Tifa suddenly became still, and remained silent.

Cloud took what he thought was the message.

I'm invading her personal space, he thought. Know when to stop, Cloud. Too much is too much.

He quickly released his grip and took a step back.

"Don't go," Tifa suddenly pleaded. "It's too good."

"What do you mean?" he asked.

"Your skin against mine," she clarified. "It's such a wonderful feeling."

Cloud reassumed his position, wrapping his arms around his love.

Tifa savored the feeling of the skin of his bare chest against the skin of her bare back. And then, something occurred to her. She turned herself around and looked at Cloud sincerely in the eyes.

"Cloud," she began as she placed her hands on his shoulders, "I know you've wanted to pick me up, and I've resisted because I'm an independent woman. But I realized something. I know you want to do it as an act of love, don't you?"

Cloud nodded.

"Then," Tifa continued, "you can pick me up."

"You sure?" he asked.

"I'm sure," she replied. "I've been wondering what it's like."

"Okay, then," he said.

He slowly lowered himself and enclosed his arms around her legs.

A moment later, Tifa gasped as she felt herself being lifted into the air. She soon found herself face to face with Cloud.

And she felt...secure. She also felt a closeness to him that she had trouble describing. But she was quickly beginning to enjoy it.

"You like this?" Cloud asked.

"You're putting your hands on my ass," Tifa replied. "How can I not?"

"I'm tempted to squeeze," he informed her.

"Don't tempt me!" she playfully warned. "The food will get cold!" She then smiled and kissed him.

Cloud continued to carry Tifa for a few moments before gently setting her down.

"I saw a canvas and easel in the closet this morning," she continued. "I want to paint tomorrow. And I want to be on your lap while I do it."

"Isn't that a little girly for you?" he asked.

"I'd like to try it," she insisted. "I mean, if I liked being bathed and picked up, who knows?"

"You can sit on my lap while we eat," Cloud offered.

"I would like to see your face, too," Tifa admitted.

And then, without warning, Tifa grabbed and picked him up the same way he had picked her up.

Cloud was amazed that his wife was capable of doing that.

"It's an act of love," she announced before kissing him.

7:00 p.m.

Marlene sat on the parlor floor in her pajamas. She knew it was her bed time; Barret never even had to tell her. He would simply take her by the hand and lead her into her bedroom.

Sure enough, Barret did just that. He also tucked her in and gave her her stuffed rabbit.

Marlene was tired, and ready to fall asleep, but she had one last thing on her mind.

"Why did she hug you when she came over?" she asked. "You just saw her yesterday."

"Who, Jessie?" Barret asked.

Marlene nodded.

"Some people're jus' like that," he replied.

"But you hugged her back," she continued. "You never hug anyone."

Barret sighed.

"I don't, do I?" he admitted.

"You like Jessie!" Marlene suddenly exclaimed.

"You need to get to sleep," he responded.

"When's Jessie going to be my mommy?"

"Go to sleep," Barret commanded.

He clicked off the light, went to the kitchen, and sat down at the table.

He realized that Marlene was well aware that he and Jessie liked each other.

He also realized that Marlene could use a mother.

Continuing the relationship would benefit them both.

He decided to take out his cell phone and call her.

8:00 p.m.

The sun was beginning to set over the private island as Cloud and Tifa strolled hand-in-hand on the beach.

Tifa felt the setting sun's warmth on her bare shoulders, simultaneously with the cool breeze that graced her body. And the naked man at her side, that she kept glancing at, made everything perfect.

"You keep looking at me blow my waist," Cloud pointed out.

"Just checking for sharp objects," she lamely lied.

"You mean you just want to glance at my-"

"Yes," Tifa laughed, slightly blushing. "Well, I'm only human! Plus, I've caught you glancing at the twin peaks during dinner!"

Cloud then blushed himself.

Suddenly, Tifa stopped, and gazed into the ocean.

"So this is how it all ends," she began.

"What ends?" Cloud asked.

"What began on your thirtieth in the old timeline," she clarified. "We regretted not getting married to each other. We reversed that. That arc is finally at rest. We can finally move forward, as if that mistake was never made." She paused. "And we're young again."

"The Geostigma Crisis is two years away," Cloud pointed out.

"I wouldn't say I'm looking forward to that," she admitted. "But there are other things I am."

"Like what?" Cloud asked as he wrapped his left arm around her bare waist.

"When do you want to start having kids?" she asked.

"I dunno," he answered. "How about you?"

"Sooner, rather than later," she replied. "I don't know what the future holds, but I think we can both agree that life is just too short to wait."

Cloud turned his wife around to face him, wrapping his other arm around her waist as well. He then leaned in and kissed her.

"Do you think we could come back here on our anniversary?" Tifa suddenly asked.

"Of course!" he replied. "Where's there will be no trouble, and no clothes, either."

"Even if I'm pregnant," she added. "And if I end up birthing on this island, I'm perfectly fine with it."

The newlyweds kissed again, this time with their tongues pressing against each other.

"Cloud," Tifa began, "I love you so much."

"And I love you," he replied. "To the moon and back."

They continued to stroll the beach for a while. Tifa felt like she was in paradise; this was her idea of Heaven.

"Do you want to have sex again?" she suddenly asked.

"When we get back to the cabin?" he asked.

"Right here on the beach," she suggested with a naughty grin.

In response, Cloud lowered his right hand, letting it rest for a moment on Tifa's bare butt. He then began to kiss her neck.

"I'll take that as a yes," she laughed before kissing him back.

9:00 p.m.

Marlene awoke.

Her mouth was dry, and she knew she would not go back to sleep unless she had a drink of water. She immediately got out of bed and left the bedroom. She made no effort to tip-toe; Barret never cared if she got up for a drink.

She entered the kitchen, took a newly-cleaned class from the dish-drainer, and filled it at the sink. She finished it in thirty seconds flat, smiling at the fact that her thirst was now quenched, and that she was now free to sleep.

And then, she turned to face the kitchen table.

And her smile faded.

Barret was gazing into his phone. His eyes were troubled.

"Daddy?" she asked. "What's worrying you?"

"Somethin's very wrong," he replied.

10:00 p.m.

Things had been quiet in Nibelheim that evening as the Continental Governor took her seat at her desk. It was Sunday, and she had taken the day off. But the elephant in the room had remained. Now she needed to deal with the person sitting in the seat across from her. It was, indeed, an inevitable task.

"Welcome home," Bismark greeted.

"Thank you for rescuing me," Karnak replied. "I heard the Island Gulag was destroyed by missiles after you did."

"You are correct," the Continental Governor confirmed as she took a sip of her drinking water.

"So the Island Gulag's been reduced to a pile of burning rubble?" he asked.

She nodded the affirmative.

"Still," she replied, "the damage was done. I didn't rescue you out of kindness, you know."

"I'm aware of that," Karnak admitted.

"And, yesterday," continued Bismark, "I got to officiate Cloud Strife and Tifa Lockheart's wedding. They're butt-naked on a private island as we speak. I also got to officiate a surprise wedding of Tobin Lockheart and Alicia Reynolds, or Cissnei, if you prefer. And to top it all off, Zack Fair is also on the loose, not to mention all the other inmates who escaped under your watch."

"I'll track them all down," Karnak assured her. "Starting with Cloud and Tifa. I'll make sure I kill them both. They were born naked. They might as well die in the same state."

The Continental Governor gave Karnak a skeptical look.

"You, my friend," she replied, "are somebody I have other plans for."

"Other plans?" he asked, growing concerned. "I can recapture each and every one of them."

"Nobody's ever done that," Bismark dismissed. "And even if you did, word has already spread. I saw twenty different petitions online, all calling for my arrest. All because you failed."

"It was my team that failed me," Karnak insisted. "They were killed one by one."

"You were still responsible for them," Bismark pointed out.

"I'll need a new team," Karnak continued. "One that's more experienced."

"You're done, my boy," the Continental Governor informed him. "I rescued you from the Island Gulag. But not to save your life." She opened a drawer in her desk. "I didn't want those missiles to kill you."

She then produced the contents of the drawer: a handgun.

"I wanted to kill you myself!"

Karnak prepared to bolt up from the chair, turn, and run.

Bismark was quicker. She pulled the trigger, placing a bullet in Karnak's brain in less than a second.

Karnak slumped in the chair, dead as a doornail.

She then closed the drawer, and stared for a moment at Karnak's body.

"Maybe you were created to fail," she said.

The Continental Governor then got up, and pushed her chair in. She walked over to the mirror in her office, humming softly to herself. She fixed her long, blond hair for a few moments, and smiled as a tear fell from her eye.

She then placed the gun into her mouth.

And she pulled the trigger.

11:00 p.m.

Tifa lay in the hammock. The stars had come out, and the crickets were chirping. The moon was full, and it shone brightly on her. It was a peaceful night.

She was laying on her back, on top of Cloud, who was also on his back, and already asleep. Both of his arms were wrapped around her waist. The feeling of his skin against hers made her feel safe and secure. She laughed for a moment; it somewhat reminded her of the time when she was twelve, when she accidentally fell asleep next to Cloud. It was one of her funniest memories, despite the tense family situation that had been going on all those years ago.

But, now, it was different.

She was naked, and Cloud was now her husband, in addition to her best friend. She was still amazed at how far they had gone together. There was no more uncertainty nor adventure in regards to their relationship, and she was content with that.

And, yet, there was one last loose end she had not tied up. She did not know if she could, but it was still on her mind. She had failed with it many times before, but, at that moment, suddenly feeling wired, she wanted to give that one last try. She felt some regret; she did not want to leave the comfort of her husband's arms. Yet she knew that she would not sleep if she stayed.

Slowly and cautiously, Tifa climbed out of the hammock and took a few steps away. Looking behind herself, she saw in relief that she had not disturbed the sleeping Cloud. She wanted to remain for a few moments and admire his naked body, but she knew she had the rest of her life to do that.

She began to tread down the dock. The stars seemed to shine even more brightly as she approached the end.

And she stopped.

Tifa then looked toward the stars.

"Mom?" she began, in a shaky voice. "It's me again."

There was no response, as always.

"I rescued Dad," she continued. "And I married Cloud. I'm happy, Mom. I'm really happy."

There was still no response.

Tifa, you're crazy, she thought to herself. A girl has to grow up and move on.

Still, she had to be sure.

"Dad's okay, Mom," she continued. "He's sorry for what he's done. And now that he's safe, maybe he can make it up somehow." She paused. "I wish you could have seen me yesterday. I was a beautiful bride. And I remember how you told me that Cloud's a keeper. Well, Mom, he's your son-in-law, now."

The twinkling stars was the entirety of activity in the sky.

Tifa felt a wave of melancholy; it was likely her mother never heard her. Despite the fact that the souls of the dead went to the Lifestream, Tifa had the highest hopes that Claire was still watching over her; that she could hear her when she called out to her.

"Mom," she continued. "If you can't hear me, that's okay. I know you're alright. I just wanted one last chance to tell you I love you. And, then...I'll be okay."

And, at that moment, a shooting star streamed across the sky.

Tifa immediately gasped, and tears quickly began to stream from her eyes. She placed both of her hands on her heart.

Her mother was, in fact, watching over her.

She had been that entire time.

It was then that Tifa realized her mother wanted her to be the strong, independent woman she always had been. It was for her own good.

Tifa smiled as more tears of happiness ran down her cheeks.

It had turned out to be a wonderful week after all.



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