When the crisis is over Tifa is left with nothing but questions...and memories. (Post-AC)
Sometimes she wondered what it would be like if he was still alive.
She couldn't mention it to anyone of course, not this curious longing that filled her whenever she thought of him. Cloud would be angry. Cloud would remind her in his usual not so tactful way that he'd nearly killed her. Cloud would remember the weight of a dying child in his arms and would get that haunted look that was only now beginning to fade.
Funny that she could think of Kadaj as a child but not him. She told herself that he had to be about her age if not older. His manner just seemed...less polished. Like the world hadn't yet taken its toll on him and taught him how to behave like anything but himself.
She thought about him the most at night. She'd seen him once outside her window, silver hair glowing in the faint light. He'd left before she could call out, but she knew that he knew she'd seen.
Lately she'd lie in bed for hours, thinking about him. What kind of man sacrificed himself for a goal that was unattainable? She'd heard Cloud as he described the kamikaze attack to Cid.
We go together. Said by one and carried over by the other. Two thirds of a puzzle and a burning question...
What could have happened to one piece if the others were lost?
She had to question what he'd thought of her. When she was stretched out beneath him what had he felt? He had seemed hesitant...but his touches had been gentle.
When they'd fought he hadn't been gentle. She'd given her best and he'd proven that it wasn't good enough. He had made her bones ache with each step and it had only been fear and need that kept her going.
Tifa asked herself, sometimes, if he'd taken it easy on her. Had she been a good run at least? Had he taken her seriously?
She thought she remembered him bending over her when she was drifting in and out of consciousness in the flowers. Calloused fingers had touched the pulse in her neck then rested over her lips. At the moment she'd been certain he was about to kill her but now...
Now it was too late for any such thoughts. Now he was gone. He had chosen his brothers and he had chosen his fate as surely as she had chosen her own.
But still, Tifa wondered. When she didn't go a day without thinking about him she had to ask herself the questions she'd never dared when he was alive. How had he felt? Why had they done what they did? In those last moments had he ever thought of her? If she had told him...would he have come to her rather than die? Would she have hidden him?
The world was safe. The crisis was over. She should be relieved that things were back to and better than normal.
Then why did she feel this way?
Tifa thought of him when it rained. She thought of the shower that saved some and destroyed others. She felt him touch her those nights when she lay awake with her fingers between her thighs. She could smell leather and sweat when she closed her eyes and remembered enough and whenever she looked in the mirror she saw green eyes, reflected back in her own brown like a mark he'd left on her.
Life went on. She tended the bar and watched the rain out the window. At night she imagined what could have been and what had been and dreamed and hoped no one ever noticed in the mornings when she woke with tears on her face and his name on her lips.
Tifa knew no matter how much time passed, she'd still wonder what would have happened if he had lived.
Somehow, she knew that Loz was wondering the same thing.