Tifa stared dejectedly into the dying embers of their campfire. They were camped in the Nibelheim mountains, another 2 days journey at least before they were out.
Tifa knew these mountains like the back of her hand from being a guide throughout her teenage years. She remembered the emptiness after her hometown was burned to the ground by Sephiroth.
The fake Nibelheim behind them didn’t fool her. She would never forget the day her father was murdered and no amount of theatre on the part of Shinra would ever sell her on the lie.
She cast her gaze over to the couple spooning a few yards from the campfire. What was once gut wrenching, debilitating, agony had now dimmed into painful throbbing in her chest.
This is what she felt every time she saw them together. Cloud. She had loved him for as long as she could remember. She though back on the time they were jailed in the Shinra building.
She and Cloud had shared an 8X10 cell. The bars and separate rooms hadn’t deterred Aeris in the slightest from mentioning plans for their date.
Tifa felt like she had been punched hard in the stomach. Cloud was as oblivious as ever to Tifa’s pain, too wrapped up in Aeris to even care.
Then there was the incident after leaving Midgar… At Junon Aeries was a shameless flirt and Cloud went right along with it. He followed her around like a puppy.
It wouldn’t have been so bad if Cloud hadn’t insisted that Tifa join their party every time the group separated. Every glance and whisper between them had twisted in Tifa’s heart like a knife.
Sometimes, when she was feeling especially low she imagined that Cloud did this deliberately, just to draw out her suffering. The worst part was when she had seen them kissing at Cosmo canyon.
Tifa was heading to bed at the inn when she caught sight of them, Cloud had Aeris pinned in a dark corner of the downstairs bar kissing her neck.
Tifa had frozen at the sight, and then Aeris made eye contact with her over Cloud’s shoulder and smiled. At that moment Tifa hated Aeris a little.
Tifa made her way upstairs barely holding herself together. When the door latch clicked, Tifa had succumbed to tears. After she had finally cried herself out, she decided to let him go.
She loved him, but he loved Aeris and that was not about to change.
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