The sun was just setting over the Healing Lodge when Reeve arrived. This was his first time visiting since the fall of Shinra Inc and he was surprised at how much it has changed. Originally it was meant to be a resort for Shinra employees on holidays or on stress leave but after meteor Rufus turned it into a healing center for those infected with geo stigma. Once geo stigma was cured, a little over two years ago, many of the infected people left the healing center to rebuild their lives while others stayed making it their new home.
Over time the lodge had grown into a small self-sufficient and vibrant town called Healen built around the original Shinra cliff resort. Since the resort was located on a ledge along the side of a cliff many of the homes were also located along the cliff-side and were interconnected by various bridges, ramps, and staircases. The town even used the waterfall for hydro-electrical power so it did not have to rely heavily on outside electricity. Being a former urban developer, Reeve was very impressed with the small town and wondered how many engineers Rufus had hired to assist with its construction.
But the Healen hospital was the pride of the town and was considered the best hospital on the planet. It was a massive five story hospital built into the side of the cliff equipped with the latest equipment and first-class service. It even had its own helicopter to transport critically ill patients. It was known for providing free treatment to anyone in need and housed some of the best doctors around. Reeve supported Rufus’ idea of affordable healthcare and ensured that any medical student attending the college in Junon would be required to complete part of their internship at the Healen Hospital to help offset the cost of doctors.
Reeve chuckled inwardly; just 4 years ago Rufus Shinra and the Turks were some of the most feared people on the planet and now they run a charity organization. To this day the name Shinra still stirred a lot of negative emotions in most corners of the globe but in this town Rufus and his team are seen as savours who help the sick and poor. Rufus had a huge debt to pay for what his company did to the planet and he appears to be making good on his promise to atone for his sins.
Reeve walked up the long wooden staircase leaning to the front door of the lodge, now the mayor’s office. He knocked twice before entering. He looked around as he walked into the main room and noticed the old Shinra company logo sign still hanging on the wall; a reminder of the past. The old lodge had not changed much since Reeve stayed there years ago apart from the addition of a few more desks and computers.
On the other side of the room Rufus was sitting alone at the biggest desk writing. Realizing someone had entered he shifted his attention away from his work. He looked up at Reeve with a somewhat surprised expression.
“Good evening commissioner,” the blond greeted him.
“Good evening Mr. Mayor.”
“To what do I owe this pleasure?” Rufus asked with a grin. Reeve took a file from under his arm and placed it on Rufus’ desk. “I keep telling you I don’t need these,” Rufus motioned to the file. “The money I gave you was a donation, not an investment; you are not accountable to me.”
“I just want you to see how we are putting your donation to good use,” Reeve explained. “Plus being accountable to you will keep me on the right track. Anyone has the potential of becoming corrupt with too much power.”
Rufus knew exactly what Reeve was referring to and brushed it off. The Shinra executives, himself included, were some of the worst offenders in history with the exception of Reeve; he was the only who had integrity amongst them. He remembered Reeve was always given a hard time for being the good guy and was considered weak but in the end it was Reeve who came out on top.
“I know you didn’t come all this way just to give me your quarterly report.” Rufus laid down his pen and sat back in his chair. “So why the personal visit?”
Normally Reeve would just give his reports to one of the Turks; despite Rufus insisting that they were not necessary.
“I just wanted to go over the plans for next week,” Reeve explained. “We will start with the Fort Condor reactor then Corel and Mt. Nibel. We plan on demolishing the Mt. Nibel and Condor reactors completely but the Coral reactor core will be dismantled and the remaining structure will be retrofitted as an oil refinery.”
“What about Junon?” the ex-president asked.
“That’s another issue I wanted to talk to you about. The Junon College has requested to use the underwater reactor as a laboratory for ocean research. If you agree, we plan to dismantle the reactor and donate the underwater observatory for educational purposes,” Reeve explained.
With the destruction of Midgar, Junon became the new capital city under Reeve and the WRO. The city now housed the World Regenesis Organization’s main Headquarters and was an intellectual and financial powerhouse. After meteor Reeve used equipment from Junon to help build Edge. He also helped the citizens of Junon turn it from a military city into an eco-friendly progressive city with the only colleges on the planet since the one in Midgar was destroyed. To assist Reeve, Rufus donated all the Shinra property in Junon to the WRO along with providing financial support so the WRO had everything it needed including a fully functional headquarters.
Even with the collapse of the Shinra Electrical Power Company Reeve knew Rufus was financially secure; the Shinra family had secret accounts in various cities, stockpiles of gold and silver along with several properties that Rufus sold after the economy strengthened under the WRO. He donated a generous amount of money to Reeve and the WRO because he trusted Reeve and knew he had the best intentions for the planet.
The only thing Rufus asked in return was put his Turks on the WRO payroll. The Turks were a family and Rufus wanted to insure that if something happened to him they would be able to stay together and work for WRO. Reeve honored his request without hesitation. It was a small request considering how much Rufus had assisted him and there were times when it benefited him to have access to people like the Turks.
“You can do whatever you want with the underwater laboratory,” Rufus shrugged leaning back in his chair. “As long as the reactors are inoperable I don’t care what you do with the remaining structures. The only thing I ask is that you destroy any technology you find relating to mako production, the Jenova project, or Hojo’s research. ”
Reeve nodded in agreement. “You are not the only one looking forward to this mission. This will bring closure to a lot of people. Do you have the schematics for the Coral reactor? It would help us with the reconstruction.”
Rufus nodded. “I will check to see if the plans are in the files we managed to salvage. I have been meaning to go through them but we’ve been so busy with other priorities. If they are there I will ensure you receive them.”
“Thanks,” Reeve said as he turned to walk away but paused. “Oh, there is one other thing.” Reeve turned back to face Rufus and pulled out a piece of paper from his pocket. “We have been experiencing some problems with WRO members disappearing and murdered.”
Reeve laid the paper on Rufus desk. “So far 15 are missing; all of them peacekeepers and engineers assigned to the Corel reconstruction project. An engineer and a scientist were found dead last week in Edge and they weren’t related to the reactor project. I was hoping you could ask them to look...”
“Tseng is already aware of your dilemma and is looking into it,” Rufus interrupted. “So far they haven’t found anything you don’t already know. Is it possible the recent homicides and Corel disappearances are not related and just a coincidence?”
“It could be,” Reeve agreed.
He was thinking the same thing because the recent murder victims had nothing to do with the reactor project unlike the disappearances and the incidents occurred hundreds of miles apart. The only thing linking them was they all involved WRO employees. Reeve had a bad feeling about the disappearances; the last time people went missing like this Deepground first came to the surface from underneath the Shinra building. However, as far as he knew Deepground was destroyed a little over a year ago and there has been no evidence of their presence since the Omega incident.
“If they uncover any information I will ensure they advise you immediately.” Rufus knew what Reeve was thinking because he was pondering the same thing. When he became president his father never told him about Deepground despite his subordinates Scarlet, Hojo and Heidegger having full knowledge of it. Rufus could understand going mad with power but some of the projects his father encouraged were disturbing and the fact that he was not advised of them angered him. He feared there were more projects out there linked to Jenova prompting his desire to discover and destroy anything related to Jevona and Hojo.
“I will keep you updated on our progress next week,” Reeve said as he walked towards the exit.
“I have no doubt you will.”
The sun was just starting to shine through the bedroom window when Cloud awoke in a cold sweat. The extra light was starting to give him a headache so he opened his eyes slowly to help them adjust. After a few seconds his eyes adjusted but the headache lingered. He looked around the room and noticed the time on the clock, 8 AM.
Cloud then looked over next to him to see Tifa sleeping with her back to him. Sleeping in was unusual for her; normally she was the first person up in the mornings having breakfast ready before anyone else was even out of bed.
Cloud wondered if he kept Tifa up all night again with his restlessness. For the past few weeks he had been having restless and sleepless nights and when he did sleep he would often wake up suddenly in a cold sweat. Lately many of his dreams were just old memories of his time as a grunt soldier working for Shinra and his time fighting Sephiroth. The only memories he was unsure of were the ones involving Zack. Many of the dreams involving his old friend were unfamiliar to him but he assumed they were just supressed memories from a period in his life he had forgotten.
Suddenly the pain in his head started to intensify. These headaches were a common occurrence lately and varied in severity but never lasted too long. The last time he had headaches like these was when he was hunting Sephiroth but those headaches were always followed by voices in his head or flashbacks. He hoped this was not a sign he was going to have some kind of mental breakdown again.
Cloud closed his eyes and laid back down until the pain subsided. He looked over at Tifa who was still sleeping next to him. Cloud rarely got the opportunity to see Tifa sleeping so peacefully like this. She was usually up before him in the mornings and when he would suddenly wake in the middle of the night she would already be up ready to comfort him. Tifa was the shining beacon of light in his dark soul and the dark memories that hunted him.
He had been in love with her since they were children and would never want to do anything to hurt her. Although they have had feelings for one another for a long time they didn’t act them until the night under the Highwind before they went to fight Sephiroth. It was one of the happiest moments of his life and they have been together since. That night, despite being surrounded by death and uncertainty, nothing matter to him except being with the woman he had loved for as long as he could remember. He wanted to spend every waking moment with her for as long as she wanted him by her side. The only exception was when he was infected with geo stigma and he distanced himself from Tifa and his family. During that time he was so consumed with darkness he didn’t stop to think about what he was doing to everyone around him, especially Tifa. He regretted this and promised himself to never hurt her like that again.
Realizing his headache was gone Cloud slowly got out of bed, careful not to wake Tifa, and went downstairs. As he walked into the empty kitchen not a sound could be heard meaning everyone else was still sleeping.
Cloud went over to the fridge retrieving the eggs. It was usually Tifa who did the cooking in the mornings but Cloud was no stranger to the kitchen. He cracked some eggs into a bowl and started to beat them. ‘Scrambled eggs and toast seemed like a breakfast everyone will like,’ he thought to himself.
Cloud took a moment to savour the peace and quiet. They had a full house visiting and Cloud knew it would not be long before everyone was up. He didn’t mind all the people though; they were all family to him. After meteor and his geo stigma infection he spent so much time trying to avoid them he felt he had to make up for lost time.
The smell of breakfast stirred some commotion upstairs followed by the sound of footsteps heading his way. Marlene walked into the kitchen.
“Good morning Cloud,” she said as she walked over to the fridge pulling out the juice and laying it on the table.
“Morning Marlene,” Cloud replied as he put some cooked eggs and toast on a plate for her.
Marlene walked over to a drawer and took out the cutlery setting the table. After she finished setting the table she sat down and started eating her breakfast.
“Thanks Cloud,” she says before she started eating.
A few minutes later Denzel walked into the kitchen rubbing his eyes still looking half-asleep.
“Morning,” he said as he walked over to the table and flopped himself down in the chair.
Cloud dished him up a plate and laid it in front of him. Then Cloud sat down at the table with his own plate of food and poured a glass of juice for himself and Denzel.
The three ate their breakfast in silence until Shelke walked into the room with a smile on her face.
“Good morning everyone,” she greeted the three. She walked over to the table and poured herself some juice.
“Breakfast?” Cloud asked her as she sat at the table.
“Thanks, but I’m not hungry right now,” she replied. “Maybe in a little.”
“So Papa’s coming home today right?” Marlene asked Cloud looking up from her plate.
Cloud nodded yes. “He should be,” he told the young girl.
“How long will he be visiting before you all leave?” She asked.
Before Cloud could reply he was distracted by a loud thump sound coming from the second floor followed by the sound of fast footsteps marching down the stairs.
“Mornin’!” Yuffie shouted walking into the kitchen. “Mmmm that smells good. What’s for breakfast?” she asked the group but before Cloud could answer she spotted the pan of scrambled eggs and walked over making herself a plate. She then quietly sat at the table next to Shelke and started scarfing down her food.
“I think we are heading out tomorrow,” Cloud informed Marlene answering her question.
A disappointed look appeared on the young girl’s face. She was hoping her father would visit for more than one day.
“Where’s Tifa?” Yuffie mumbled looking around with her mouth full of eggs.
“Sleeping,” Could answered taking a sip of his juice.
Suddenly their breakfast was interrupted by the sound of the phone ringing. Cloud was about to stand up and get it but it only rang twice before stopping meaning Tifa must have answered it upstairs.
After a minute or two they could hear footsteps coming down the stairs and Tifa walked into the kitchen still looking a little tired.
“Good morning,” she said with a big smile sitting on the last available seat at the head of the table.
Cloud walked over to the stove and fixed Tifa a plate of food bringing it to her.
“Thank you Cloud, this looks good,” she complimented him while pouring herself a glass of juice. She took a few bites of her breakfast and looked over at Marlene. “I just got off the phone with your father,” she informed the young girl, “he said that they are due to arrive at noon.”
A smile appeared on Marlene’s face.
“Can we go meet him?” She asked looking from Tifa to Cloud.
Cloud nodded yes causing Marlene’s smile to grow wider. She finished the last few bites of her breakfast and stood up from the table with her plate.
“I’m going to go get ready,” she said putting her plate in the sink and exited the kitchen.
“How long will you be away?” Denzel asked Tifa looking up from his breakfast. He was starting to appear a little more alert.
“I’m not sure,” Tifa replied laying her fork down. “I guess for as long as it takes to finish the job. I think a few days but we should know more after our meeting.”
Denzel gazes down at his plate looking a little disappointed.
“Don’t worry Denzel you have Shelke and I here to look after you,” Yuffie told the young boy trying to cheer him up. “You know you are going to have loads of fun with aunty Yuffie!”
Although Yuffie had been a member of the WRO for almost four years she had to stay in Edge for business and offered to help Shelke look after the Seventh Heaven and the children. The young ninja was recently promoted to the WRO internal affairs division a few months ago and was now the youngest middle manager at just 20 years old. Although Cloud had never seen it he was told by Cid and the others that she was very professional when at work and was very skilled at her job. Cloud was not surprised that she was good at her job; what a better person to catch liars and lawbreakers within the WRO then a master manipulator herself. When they first met her at the age of 16 she infiltrated their group and convinced them to travel to Wutai just so she could steal their materia. She did not go into details of her assignment with them other than it involved a WRO airship that recently went missing and was believed to be an inside job. Cloud had a feeling that whatever she was doing was also related to the two homicides that occurred last week.
After Yuffie’s reassuring words a faint smile appeared on Denzel’s face. Denzel wasn’t that sad about them leaving; he was more upset about not being able to come with them. He’s been wanting to be part of the WRO for a few years now but was told they don’t allow children. He still had a few years until he was old enough to join.
No longer able to sleep through Yuffie’s high pitched voice, Nanaki strolled into the kitchen. He had been staying with Cloud and Tifa for the last week. It wasn’t uncommon for him to visit for a few days or weeks while passing through during his travels. Although Cosmo Canyon will always be his home, over the last year or two he had been feeling restless. Given his species long lifespan he figured he had years ahead of him to settle down at home and had been feeling the need to explore the world on his own. Everyone greeted him as he found a spot in the corner of the kitchen to sit down.
After finishing her food Yuffie grabbed her phone off the table. “We should text Vincent to make sure he knows what time to meet everyone,” she informed Shelke. Being around the same age Shelke and Yuffie had become good friends over the last few months. Yuffie’s outgoing and cheerful personality had appeared to have a positive effect on Shelke.
“I thought he was receiving a ride from Cid,” Shelke informed Yuffie causing the young ninja to stop texting on her phone looking a little disappointed. She laid the PHS on the table and proceeded to take her plate over to the sink.
After everyone was finished eating breakfast they all left the Seventh Heaven and walked through Edge towards the airfield located on the outskirts of the city. It was located a little north of Jonny’s Heaven and luckily for Jonny having the airfield nearby brought much needed customers to his outdoor establishment.
The group was not waiting in the airfield for long before the Shera landed and the aircraft doors opened. Marlene was jumping up and down with excitement before anyone even exited the aircraft.
After the doors opened some of the crew disembarked followed by Reeve, Cid, Barret, Vincent and a man Cloud did not recognize. The unknown man was around Cloud’s age and height with short dark brown hair, brown eyes and glasses. He was wearing a white dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up and brown dress pants.
As soon as she saw her father exit the aircraft Marlene rushed up and jumped into Barret’s arms.
“Hello sweetie,” Barret said giving her a big hug.
“Hello everyone,” Reeve greeted his friends as he approached. “I would like you to meet Miles,” he motioned towards the stranger. “He is a specialists who has volunteered for the mission.”
“Hello,” Miles greeted everyone with a wave of his hand. He seemed a little nervous. They all greeted him back with a smile.
Everyone was conversing and catching up when Reeve looked at his watch. “I am sorry to break this up everyone but I have booked a conference room for 1 PM.”
Yuffie, Shelke, Marlene, Nanakin and Denzel said their goodbyes and went back to Seventh Heaven while the rest proceeded towards the WRO building. The WRO’s main headquarters was in Junon but it had satellite offices in Midgar and Corel, the second and third largest cities. Their Edge location was the second largest and although it was technically an army they also provided police and judiciary services to the city. Unlike Junon, Edge had yet to form a functioning government so the WRO filled the void in the meantime.
It didn’t take long for the group to walk across town towards the WRO building. They all gathered around the conference table with Reeve standing at the head.
“I know most of you have volunteered for this mission but the reason I requested your participation is because you all have a working knowledge of the targets and the risks associated.” Reeve paused and looked around the group before continuing. “I have been assured that all the reactors were turned off two years ago so they no longer drain Mako. This means there should be very few monsters around the target areas.”
“What kinda risks are we lookin’ at besides some goddamn monsters?” Cid interrupted. He was aware of everything going on lately and wanted Reeve to lay it all out on the table now so everyone knew before they started the mission.
“Some of you probably heard the rumours going around. This might be unrelated but some of the WRO members who were working on the Corel reactor project have been disappearing and another two WRO employees were found murdered here in Edge a little over a week ago.” Reeve explained to the group. “So far we have no information on who is responsible or if the two incidents are related.”
“Disappearances?” Cloud whispered, “Sounds familiar…”
“It can’t be Deepground,” Barret interrupted knowing what Cloud was referring to. “We took ‘em down a year ago!”
Reeve nodded in agreement.
“We have no reason to believe it is Deepground at this point,” he explained. “Since the disappearances are limited to just over a dozen WRO members working on the Corel project there could be a number of explanations IF there’s even a connection.”
“Who or what else could be responsible?” Tifa asked Reeve.
The WRO had been experiencing a lot of challenges over the past few months including thefts, murders, and disappearances. Not to mention the fact that being an army there are people who oppose their operation along with trying to battle the rise in organized crime and the rumors of corruption from within.
“Well there are some people in Corel who oppose the idea of the reactor being turned into an oil refinery and there are others who oppose the WRO in general; just to give you some examples.” Miles said coming to Reeve’s defence. “Not to mention the fact that Corel is a high density area for dangerous monsters which could explain the disappearances.”
Reeve nodded to Miles and scanned the group to see if there were any more questions so he could continue briefing them on the mission.
“The first target is Fort Condor and it should be straightforward. We sweep the reactor to ensure there are no occupants, then we arm it with explosives and detonate it. Since there are no towns or villages nearby we don’t have to worry about creating a controlled explosion.”
“What ‘bout them people livin’ in Fort Condor?” Barret questioned.
“The WRO intelligence division informed me that the people cleared out of Fort Condor shortly after the battle with Shinra,” Reeve explained. “But there is always the possibility that people could be occupying it. That is why we are going to conduct a sweep beforehand and relocate anyone who may be living there.”
Reeve paused to see if there were any further questions.
“The next stop is Junon where we are going to dismantle the reactor manually so we can preserve the underwater laboratory for scientific research. This will be a much longer process but I have a team of engineers who can tend to this project while the rest of you head over to Corel to assist Barret and Miles with their plans. After Corel, the rest of you will head Mt. Nibel and destroy the reactor like Fort Condor.” Reeve paused and looked around the room again. “Any questions?”
“Why are we even blowin’ up the Nibelheim and Condor reactors if they’re shut down?” Cid asked.
Although he loved the idea of blowing stuff up he was one of the few who suggested that they should postpone this assignment given everything that has been happening over the past few weeks. Plus he had other projects he rather be working on right now.
“If we don’t destroy the reactors anyone can walk in there and use them for nefarious purposes. The ability to draw mako from the plant can be tempting for a person or group who wants to harm the planet or requires large amounts of mako.” Reeve explained. Deepground was another example of a group who attempted to use the Midgar reactors to try to harm the planet but he didn’t want to mention them since everyone was fully aware of that incident.
Mako had been such a touchy subject lately all cities banned the production of new materia. People were still able to use and sell materia that was created before the fall of Shinra as well as naturally occurring materia but the demand had made it a very expensive and it was becoming a rare commodity. It was also a growing fear that as materia became scarcer it would drive a black market demand and criminal organizations might target reactors.
“Shouldn’t we try to salvage any useable equipment from the reactors before we demolish them?” Miles asked half raising his hand like he was a student in class.
“We have all the equipment we need for the Corel and Junon projects,” Reeve explained. “But if you find anything that could prove useful for your research feel free to take it. That being said, anything we find relating to Jenova or any projects relating to Hojo or Hollander must be destroyed.”
Everyone nodded in agreement on that last point, they all wanted to see anything relating to Jenova destroyed.
“If there are no further questions we will meet back here at 900 hours tomorrow, meeting adjourned.”
After the meeting Tifa invited everyone back to the Seventh Heaven for dinner and drinks. It had been a long time since everyone was last together. Tifa’s bar was never full like this but it always had a good flow of customers. Some would come to drink and others liked it as a place to socialize with friends while grabbing a bite to eat.
There were a few regulars at the bar that night but they didn’t seem to mind the large group. Many of the people in Edge knew who Tifa and Cloud were. Half the city witnessed Cloud slay the Behamut Kadage summoned a few years ago so he was a bit of a celebrity around town. Although very few people in Edge actually knew what Cloud, Tifa and the others did for the planet by stopping Sephiroth and Shina many knew that they helped others in need and assisted with the construction of Edge. As a result the Seventh Heaven was a popular place but tonight it was exceptionally lively.
Cloud and Cid sat at the bar near Tifa with two regulars while Barret, Marlene, Reeve, and Miles sat in a booth nearby. Vincent was sitting by himself in the next booth over until Shelke, Denzel, and Yuffie decided to sit with him forcing him into a conversation. This prompted Nanaki, who was lying on the floor next to Vincent, to get up and walk over next to Cloud where it was a little more peaceful. He then curled up in the corner while letting out a big sigh and closed his eyes.
Tifa happily looked around at the room full of familiar faces smiling and laughing. It was times like this that reminded her of the reasons why she enjoyed owning a bar.
Later that evening Reno and Rude walked into the bar and stood near the front entrance looking around. Tifa was not that surprised to see the two. It was not uncommon for them to stop in for a few drinks when they were in town. Rude walked over to the bar while Reno stood at Barret’s table conversing. Seeing Rude approach Tifa poured them their regulars; a double scotch and a beer.
“Thanks,” Rude said laying the gil down on the bar next to Cloud and taking the drinks. Without saying a word Cloud nodded to the bald Turk who nodded back.
Seeing his partner approach Reno walked over to a free booth by the entrance and slumped himself down. Reeve then excused himself from Barret’s table then walked over to the Turk’s booth and sat with them. Tifa was not trying to spy but she noticed Rude pull a big brown envelope out of his jacket and hand it over to Reeve. Reeve accepted the package and put it next to him on the table. They talked for a few moments and the two Turks exited after finishing their drinks.
With the envelope in hand Reeve got up from the booth and walked over to the bar with Cid, Cloud and Tifa. He took a seat next to Cloud and leaned on the bar closer to Cloud so Cid could hear him over all commotion.
“Reno and Rude said they saw lights coming from the Fort Condor reactor on their way here from Junon,” Reeve informed them.
“I thought you said the reactor was deactivated years ago and everyone left,” Cid asked before leaning back taking the last swig of his beer and laying the glass down. Tifa reached over and grabbed the glass refilling his drink.
“That’s what I was told,” Reeve informed the captain. “But they said most of the lights were moving around the outside of the reactor on the hillside, like people with flashlights. When they circled around to get a closer look all the lights were off except one shining through the window of the lookout shack on top. They said it was too dark to make out anything else.”
“Then there still must be people living there,” Tifa commented as she refilled Cloud’s water. Cloud and Tifa were the only two not drinking. Cloud was never much of a drinker to begin with but he wasn’t feeling up to drinking that night.
“I sent some people there two weeks ago to check it out and they said it was completely abandoned,” Reeve explained. “They even interviewed people in a nearby village and confirmed our intel. The villagers said that after the battle with Shinra the men left the fort and went back to their families since there was no longer a condor egg to protect.”
“Maybe they were just raiders,” Cloud suggested, “they could be gone by morning.”
After the fall of Shinra is was common for people to take parts of equipment, supplies and valuables from abandoned buildings.
“Perhaps you’re right,” Reeve agreed with Cloud before taking the last sip of his sake. Reaching for his glass Tifa looked at Reeve who nodded in approval prompting her to refill his drink.
It was past midnight when everyone finally left for the night. Barret owned an apartment in Edge for himself and Marlene to stay in when he was not busy working out of town. Even though it was late she did not want to leave his side so he took her back with him. Since there was limited space at Cloud and Tifa’s place Vincent went with Barret to say in his spare room. Reeve also had his own place in Edge for when he was visiting for business so he took Miles and Cid to his place while everyone else went upstairs to bed.
It was a long day and Cloud was tired. He looking forward to his bed especially getting into bed with Tifa. After he was cured of geo stigma they decided to share a bed once she forgave him for his selfishness. He always made sure to get into bed first so he could watch Tifa undress. She was the most beautiful woman he had even seen and he knew he was lucky to have her. Growing up every boy had a crush on Tifa and as a child he was treated like an outcast by all the other boys. He chuckled inwardly; they would be so envious if they could see him now.
Tifa grinned at Cloud as he laid in bed with his arms propped behind his head watching her every move. She knew he enjoyed watching her undress for bed every night and she kind of enjoyed the attention from him. It made her feel good about herself.
Although she was always a little self-conscious about the huge scar on her chest she did not mind Cloud seeing it. Even with the scar Cloud thought Tifa had a perfect body but the scar did remind him of the time he could not be there to save her in time. He promised to never let that happen again.
He had been feeling uneasy the last few weeks with the headaches and nightmares. He was hoping the uneasiness was due to the upcoming mission and thinking about Shinra and the Mt. Nibel reactor where many of his nightmares originated from. It was in that reactor where Tifa got her scar and witnessed her father’s murder. It was in that reactor that him and Zack were taken prisoner and experimented on for years. It was in that reactor where he battled Sephiroth for the first time as a teenager and almost lost his life.
Despite all the negative thoughts and feelings he had been experiencing the past few days he was not going to let it get to him. He made a promise to himself that he will never let anything get in the way of enjoying his time with his family and the woman he loved.
Watching Tifa undress in front of him he could not control himself. He sat up in the bed reaching out and grabbing her hand pulling her into bed before she had a chance to put on her pajamas. They proceeded to caress each other and make love before falling asleep in each other’s arms.