For a split-second, Tifa wondered if she was truly seeing things. Perhaps, her mind was being cruel and was only showing her what she wanted to see. Perhaps, this was her memories haunting her, but the fatal blow on the monsters behind the familiar figure was unmistakable. That was no trick at all. Standing before her was none other than Cloud.
In her mind, she thought, You’re real. But the words that came out of her mouth were, “I-I’m fine.” It was difficult to force out any more words; of course, there was so much she wanted to say and ask, but she was still processing everything. Cloud was here—she wasn’t alone; those were the only thoughts that kept her standing. Her breaths became slower, calmer, and she could relax, if only for a moment. There were still monsters lurking about, but she supposed that after Cloud’s attack, they seemed to have been scared off for the time being.
She took a step forward, only to see a familiar green, glowing orb in Cloud’s hand. Tifa took the Materia wordlessly, staring at it for a moment as though she was remembering the last time she had seen a Materia before, and let the sphere sink into her skin and heal up her wounds. Her fingers brushed what was either dirt or dry blood off of her face. She wasn’t that badly injured. Just a few scraps here and there, but it was nothing she couldn’t handle, of course. Tifa took a step or two away to lean against a nearby tree. She could feel her body’s strength returning, but the fatigue was still there—but it would wear off eventually.
Glancing up at Cloud, she averted her gaze just as quickly in an attempt to hold herself together. She fought back the mixed emotions swirling in her head. There were so many questions to ask; she had even been tempted to hug him merely to confirm that he was real and there, but her mind had to gathered first. There was too much to take in, but she was happy to see him. At least she knew that much. After all, Cloud was her… childhood friend.
“Cloud…” It felt strange to say his name now and to actually see a face to put it with instead of silence and empty air. ”What are we… Why am I…?” She swallowed dryly and shook her head. After a pause, Tifa looked up at him and managed a small smile. ”… I’m glad you’re here,” she said, a small laugh escaping her lips. ”You… You kept your promise again.”
It was strange how few words were exchanged at all when both probably had a lot to say. He was more confused than anything she was here then she wasn’t and now she was here again but that didn’t seem to be the issue with her. She just seemed surprised to see him at all. That only indicated that she’d been here a while without his knowledge, how that happened who knows. He watched carefully as the materia healed her scratches but materia couldn’t always take away tiredness and it was evident that she was.
He looked at her in time to see her gaze be averted, she looked like she had something to say but her lips stayed shut, only managing to speak his name. His mouth curled briefly into a small grin at her fumbling words, it was pretty obvious she had a lot to ask. Through all the rather awkward and wordless reunion it was comforting to see her after believing he’d lost her again. He nodded as if to return the gesture motioning his hand a little, they probably shouldn’t stay around the area for too long.
”You… You kept your promise again.”
His eyes widened a little, but quickly softened at being reminded of that promise. He hadn’t even been thinking about it when he saw her he just moved on instinct.
[ “Of course I did” ] he finally spoke sounding more confident than what he actually felt. Truthfully it troubled him still, he still feared that one day he wouldn’t be there and that promise would be broken…then what? What would she think of him then? He shook his head, a gloved hand reaching to rub the back of his neck. [ “We should probably leave” ] he spoke rather abruptly, taking her own hand in his gloved one, but only briefly to guide her in the right direction. [ “You’ve probably got a lot to ask right?” ] Of course she did, [ “just…stay close” ] he’d lost her once here so he wasn’t about to let it happen again.