Cloud wasn't sure how long he slept for, but he did know that the clothing that he was wearing was currently not very comfortable on him. He slowly opened his eyes, the mako glow allowing his gaze to focus immediately, finding himself staring at his lap which had his diary half open and the dress that he was wearing hiked up a bit in his attempt to slouch in sleep. He blinked a bit and shifted himself back up again before he finally just stood and swayed a bit. He was hungry again. He reached up and rubbed his eyes with the back of his hand and looked almost confused at the smeering of make-up on the back of his hand afterwards, looking around the room. His hair was just passed his shoulders and clung to his neck too much as well as his naked shoulders. He stared at the make-up on the back of his hand as if not understanding. Then he remembered he was hungry and moved to where he could get something to eat.
Tifa was in the bathroom freshening up after waking up from the journey to the hideout outside of Junon. The trip had gone well, and Cloud's disguise had almost worked too well. She peered out through the door as she thought she heard Cloud stir. "Cloud? You awake?"
Cloud perked at the sound of Tifa's voice and immediately went to her, stopping in the doorway. "Affirmative," he said, looking the part of a rather skinny attractive woman but his voice gave away that he wasn't a woman at all. He looked around for something to eat in the bathroom before looking at Tifa. "How long did I sleep for?"
She reached out and took Cloud's hand. "We need to clean you off." She pulled him in and sat him on the toilet, then went about wetting a washcloth. "I think we both slept about half a day. That was a hard trip."
Cloud did as he was silently instructed, immediately taking residence on the toilet and looking over at Tifa. He looked down at the dress that he was still in, but he could find no reason to be bothered with it at this point since he had already travelled most of the day in it. "I need my medicine," he pointed, feeling odd at the moment which meant his medication was wearing off and he needed to afternoon dose, beta-6. His stomach growled shortly afterwards, its opinion that food was more important than medication.
Tifa nodded. "Just let me clean your face. You can take off that dress and put some real clothes on." She knelt down before him and began to gently wipe around his eyes, the mascara having given him a rather dark look. "Are you hungry?" Her dark eyes peered up at him, and she noted he already needed another haircut.
Cloud shut his eyes so that Tifa could clean him up properly, enduring the affectionate treatment so he could leech off of any kind of touch he could get. He pulled at the dress around his body and nodded his head a bit to Tifa's question, wanting something to eat to sooth his hunger which was only getting worse and worse the longer he stayed with Tifa. He couldn't go long without needing a meal or snack, which was a good thing he supposed since it meant he would gain weight quickly. "I did well today?" he asked before slipping the spagetti straps from his shoulders and pushing the dress down to his waist...not like it needed a lot of help. He managed to get the stuffed bra off of him as well without a little trouble.
"You did." She finished with his face and laid the washcloth aside. "Get your medicine and I'll get you an apple to eat while I get it ready. Okay?" She stood and walked into the other room. "I put some clothes for you here." She indicated a chair over which she'd drapped some things for him.
Cloud blinked open his eyes when Tifa stood and rubbed his face, glad for the make-up to be gone as it was slightly itchy for him. He instinctively moved to check on the connection with Sephiroth, making sure nothing had moved and then left it at that. He climbed to his feet and wandered over to the instructed chair and pulled the skirt off fully and folded it up as he had always been instructed. He remembered that standing in the nude sometimes upset Tifa and grabbed the pair of sweatpants and slipped into them, tying them so that they didn't fall down immediately. He grabbed the black T-shirt and slipped it on his frame as well, shaking out his hair before he went to get his medication, setting it out for Tifa to see before awaiting the apple he was supposed to get.
Tifa went to the kitchen, grabbing a banana instead and walking back in to Cloud. She was glad to see he looked a little better, and slowly but surely he had more color in his cheeks. "Just think, Cloud." She grinned, a mask to hide how she felt about giving her friend the medication, and handed him the banana. "Pretty soon you won't have to tie you sweatpants anymore. I think we should have a big dinner tonight, if your stomach can handle it."
Cloud nodded his head at Tifa, not finding himself able or willing to smile at the vaguely pleasant thought. He took the banana he was given and stared at it. Wasn't he supposed to get an apple? He looked around for the apple and, when he couldn't find one, he stared at Tifa then the banana. Eventually, his stomach won out and he peeled the piece of fruit and ate it without question before looking at his medication and pointing at it with his finger. While he didn't put the needle together, everything was there. He eyed the actually needle portion as he chewed on the nice fruit. "I am hungry. I could eat tonight. I could sleep too. I am tired."
Tifa watched the curious staring at the banana. "I thought it'd be easier to eat than an apple. You know, faster." She looked down at the needle and resigned herself to what she would have to do again. "You're still tired? Well, you can nap after this...right?"
Cloud remained neutral under Tifa's explanation and nodded his head, accepting it completely. A banana was much easier to eat and it was generally easier on his stomach. He stared at the needle and walked over to the chair where his clothing had been laid out previously and sat down in it, aware that he would have to do this no matter what. He could just refuse to take the medication and force himself better without it. "I am hungry still," he said quietly, in his own way, making an attempt to pine more food from Tifa after his medication. He could root through the kitchen if he needed to. There were plenty of things to explore. His eyes flicked over to a lamp. How did it work?
"Don't worry. I'll make a big meal for you, okay? Or do you want to eat now?' She had the needle in hand and the bottle in the other, trying to gauge Cloud's needs. The lack of emotion in his face still pained her. He had always been resolute, but she knew what he was capable of...and this just wasn't her friend.
Cloud looked at Tifa, eyeing the need suspeciously before he couldn't look at it anymore and even climbed to his feet again, turning his back on the device. He hated needles, always had since Hojo, and facing one down was not an easy task even when he was at his most unemotional faze of medication. "Medication first," he said neutrally and his gaze was drawn back to the lamp. He walked over to it and picked it up, turning it over in his hands as he began to explore the device and it's workings.
Tifa nodded and knelt at his side. "In the hip, right?" A determined expression in her eyes. She had read the letter from Dr. Wisley, but still...she just wished there was another way.
Cloud was intent with the lamp he was playing with that he hardly noticed Tifa at his side and simply nodded to the words, his curiosity getting the better of his attention. He pulled off the lamp to explore the lightbulb, turning the light on and off by the switch, his curiosity peeked. This lamp would become the victim of senseless curiosity. He touched the bulb and then unscrewed it, looking down into the electrical parts, making another attempt to turn the lamp on with no effects. He turned it over and began exploring the bottom with the cord.
Tifa glanced at Cloud studying the lamp, and decided it was a good way of distracting oneself from the inevitable. She pulled his sweats down to reveal enough of his hip, wiping the area clean with rubbing alcohol, before she placed the needle and shot the liquid into her friend's hip. She did it as fast as she could, then drew the needle back.
Cloud lifted his head at the sharpness of a needle slipping into his flesh, only a small shift of his weight to one side his only adverse movement. He looked around and merely shrugged his shoulders, going back to the lamp in his hands as he pulled off the bottom and poked at the possibly dangerous wires inside, tugging on a few before he pulled the small electical device that controlled lighting out and played with it. He quickly disassembled it and had a lot of small pieces in his hands. His interest shifted away from the lamp now that it was completely in pieces and he looked at Tifa. "We do medicine now?"
Tifa blinked up at him. "It's finished Cloud." She stood and went to take care of the needle. "Are you hungry now?'
Cloud stared at Tifa then looked down at his hip, noting that his pants were down a little lower than usual. He looked at the reminance of the lamp then over at Tifa, following her around the room. "Affirmative. I am hungry," he replied neutrally, tugging up his pants again and eventually hooked his chin over Tifa's shoulder, resting his chin there as his medication evened things out again, though odd urges did show up.
Tifa smiled softly and reached up to touch a few strands of Cloud's hair. "I'll make you some food, then we can get your hair cut again." She giggled suddenly. "We could open a wig factory and makes millions of gil, I think."
Cloud leaned his head towards Tifa's touch without really knowing why, just that he did. His glowing eyes shifted over to regard the longer portions of his hair that he could see and slowly nodded his head. "I make a considerable amount of hair. Medication side-effect." He set his hands on Tifa's waist and made to direct her into the kitchen, somehow pleased with the curves under his hands as his body simply reacted and his mind followed with mild justifications for his actions.
Tifa sucked in a short breath and held it as Cloud's hands went to her waist, and a blush appeared in her cheeks as she remembered the kiss they had shared a few days ago. It felt so good to be wanted, and yet...she did not truly know if it was that. "What...what do you want to eat, Cloud?"
Cloud cocked his head to the side as he thought about what he wanted to eat, keeping his chin on Tifa's shoulder. It was hard to tell what his body wanted to eat since all it did was demand food when he was hungry. The thoughts of cravings was lost to him since everything usually tasted very good to him. "I do not know. Food would be good," he said neutrally, taking a step forward to urge Tifa forward into walking, but he just ended up pressing his body against her back.
Tifa's cheeks grew hotter as she walked into the kitchen with Cloud's body still against him. "I'll make some beef stew then, and there's bread." She swallowed the lump in her throat, as well as the urge to steal a kiss again. She just didn't know what to do with herself sometimes it seemed.
Cloud followed Tifa into the kitchen contently, releasing his hold on her waist when they arrived there and pulled himself back again, going about exploring the kitchen a bit. The sound of getting a good meal and bread was a nice thought that put him at ease, especially with the fact that Tifa was taking care of him. It was all good in his own mind, and after dinner, he could sleep the entire night away like a rock. "I like bread," he said after a moment and looked back at Tifa. "We should go for a roll on the grass tomorrow."
Tifa coughed suddenly in surprise. "Roll in the grass, what?" She blinked wide brown eyes at him, then remembered what she was doing and immediately turned to take some bread and a can of stew out.
Cloud nodded his head in responce, walking over to Tifa. Was she getting sick? He remembered only sick people coughed and he didn't want her to catch anything. "Affirmative, roll on the grass. I can pin you to a tree," he said, completely unaware of just what he was saying.
"Cloud?!" Tifa stared at him. "What are you talking about?"
Cloud blinked at Tifa's calling of his name and stared at her in return. Had he said something wrong? He played over his own words in his mind and could find little wrong with them. "Play fighting outside," he eventually came up with and watched Tifa closely for a moment. Had he really said something wrong? "Did I say something wrong?"
Tifa's mouth opened into a wide O. She then shook her head and then let out a laugh, an uncomfortable sound. "Oh, fighting...sure. Sure." She dumped the stew into a bowl and went about adding some more beef chunks.
Cloud watched Tifa's reaction, not sure if he had done something wrong and his only lack of emotion didn't allow him to analyze what Tifa was displaying. He stood watching her, only moving to keep out of her way as he was looking forward to since a banana only held him content for a little while. "We explore tomorrow?" he asked, not really willing to just wander off on his own yet.
"Sure, we can do that Cloud. We'll just have to be careful." She placed the pot on the stove and then placed a couple slices of bread on a plate for Cloud. "Do you want peanut butter or something?"
Cloud nodded his head and watched Tifa work expectantly, wandering around the kitchen as he tried to stay out of Tifa's way while still being able to watch what she was doing. It didn't work all that well, but he knew where the peanut butter was as he had just explored a few open drawers. He went and got the peanut butter out and held it out to Tifa. "You put peanut butter in stew?"
Tifa shook her head and giggled. "No, for the bread. Do you want butter or anything? There's some in the fridge." She stirred the stew, adding a few light spices to make it better considering it'd come out of a can.
Cloud looked at the peanut butter and obediently put it back where he had found it, going to the fridge instead and pulling out the butter after rustling through. He returned to Tifa's side and put the butter beside where the bread was, peeking over her shoulder at the stew and he once again hooked his chin on her shoulder. "We going to sleep together?"
Tifa almost blushed. "If you want to, Cloud. Just like we used to." She rewarded him with a soft smile. "Just like old times."
Cloud nodded his head and pushed some of his hair behind his ears as he watched Tifa cook, finding something relaxing in the activity before his eyes set on the little timer on the stove. How did it work? He reached out passed Tifa and picked it up, turning it over in his hands as he explored the little device, his interest drifting away from food.
Tifa glanced at Cloud. "That's a kitchen timer." She sometimes forgot how much Cloud had unlearned to do and know while in the Institute. "You can play with it if you want. This food should be ready soon."
Cloud nodded his head at Tifa's words and continued to fiddle with the little instrument, slowly - but surely - moving about to completely disassemble it down to its parts so that he could figure it out. He first made the object ring, which nearly caused him to toss the timer across the room in surprise, but it stopped so he just started to pulled pieces off of it instead.
Tifa cuckled at Cloud as he nearly jumped out of his skin. "Don't hurt yourself, Cloud." She smiled and began to dish out some stew into big bowls. "Come on now, we can eat and then I'll cut your hair. We can start that wig factory."
Cloud looked over when Tifa mentioned food, dropping the little half disassembled object on the counter and wandering over to Tifa for his meal. It smelled like something from a distant memory, probably something to do with his mother, but it seemed unimportant at the moment as he was about to be fed. He walked to the table and sat down. "I wore a wig to save you when I dressed as a woman before."
Tifa set his bowl down before him and pushed the bread over before she sat down across from him. "You looked really good." She giggled. "I really appreciated you coming to get me, not that I ever doubted you."
Cloud looked down at the bowl of stew put in front of him and waited until Tifa had settled herself, remembering some kinds of manners for himself. He took a bit of bread and set it into the stew and stared at it before looking over at Tifa, cocking his head to the side a bit. "Don chose me over you and Aerith. I was not sure what to make of that when it happened."
Tifa smiled and reached for some butter. "Aerith and me were rather hurt." She winked. "Obviously you make a stunning woman Cloud. It was the wig and dress, I know it."
Cloud stared at Tifa and finally nodded his head a bit. "I am a feminine man," he said neutrally, though he had gained a much more hardened look by the end of the crisis so it was more difficult to pull off now, especially with his weight loss. "Do you think the world is safe?"
Tifa was about to respond that he wasn't feminine, he just wore a dress well, but his last question caught her attention. "The world is safe? We made it safe Cloud."
Cloud nodded his head and picked up his bread and took a bite of it, chewing as he stared at the table for a moment. He swallowed what he had eaten and looked at Tifa with his brightly glowing eyes. "Sephiroth is back. Is the world safe? Did we lose it all for nothing at all?"
Tifa nodded at the mention of Sephiroth. "But Jenova is gone. We'll just have to see what Sephiroth wants, and we kill him if it isn't good....we kill him for real this time."
Cloud stared at Tifa a moment then looked down at his arm, flexing his muscles a bit, watching the flesh shift upon his command, bone, tendons, muscle and skin working to cause movement. "Jenova is in me. Jenova is in Sephiroth. Jenova is in Vincent. Is she really gone, or just hiding in us?"
Tifa frowned, her eyes darkened in concern. "But...it's just cells, Cloud. How can she still be alive?"
Cloud took another bite of his bread and once again stared at the table as he chewed it, gaze occationally flicking up to regard Tifa across the table from him. "I do not know. I just find it difficult to believe that Sephiroth is back without a purpose. He is waiting for something I am certain." He looked at Tifa then down at the table suddenly. "I cannot fight as I used to, Tifa."
Tifa stopped eating and stared at her friend. "What, what do you mean, Cloud? You can't fight like you used to?"
Cloud shifted in his chair a bit. He had never trusted anyone in the institute enough to actually talk about anything other than jibberish to throw them off or avoid questioning altogether. "I am shattered. While I can fight, when I do so, there is no guarantee I am attacking an enemy. I lose myself."
"Oh. But...isn't that what the medication helps with? It helps you not lose yourself?" She was suddenly losing her appetite as she listened to her friend speak, she supposed it was time to talk about the main issue at hand again.
Cloud sighed heavily and went about eating silently for awhile, thinking about it. He had not really fought with the current medication, but all the others had not boded well for anyone that was around him if he became disoriented in battle. He ate almost half of his bowl of stew before answering. "I do not know. I have not fought under it before, but I do not want to fight like this. I am shattered because..." He instantly clamped his mouth shut and looked at his bowl again, going back to eating.
"Because..." Tifa waited, but realized he wasn't going to answer. "Please tell me, Cloud." She looked at him, her dark eyes raw with concern.
Cloud finished off his bowl in silence, looking up at Tifa again afterwards. He watched her silently for a long time before he dropped his head a bit. "It started when Aerith died. I felt it, the cracks appearing when I could not hate him. I knew I should, but I could not. It seemed impossible. I killed him to release him from his insanity, not because I hated him. I knew I should hate him..."
Tifa listened patiently, not answering until she was sure she truly understood what her friend was saying. "You didn't...you didn't do it for the Planet, you did it for him?"
Cloud stared at the table before he suddenly climbed to his feet and tangled his fingers into his long hair, walking away from the table before he began an almost nervous pacing, his eyes darting around the room. Medication couldn't even surpress the deepest of regrets and feelings, not on some subjects. "I need to stop him. I promised Zack, promised him I would do it. I killed him to set him free, but I lost myself in the process because I could not hate."
Tifa rose slightly from her seat, torn between going to him and torn between simply letting him pace. "You'll do it Cloud. The moment you're get better, we're going after Sephiroth. We'll have Vincent and the others. If you can't hate him enough." She stood suddenly, her brown eyes darkening. "I have enough hate of him for both of us."
Cloud managed to stop his pacing and looked over at Tifa, dropping his hands to his sides again. For a moment, all he did was watch her silently, cocking his head to the side slowly. "You wish him dead? Why?"
Tifa stared at the floor before Cloud, her emotion overcoming her slightly as a fine tremor came into her hands. "He killed my father. Aerith. He took away so much. He nearly killed me, killed you. He nearly killed us all. I hate him. And he should die."
Cloud watched Tifa and slowly nodded his head. That was the hate he knew that he should have had, yet there was no part of him that could actually feel it. Sure, he could probably kill Sephiroth if it came down to it, but there were be no hate or distain in the act just like there hadn't been any in the first time he had killed Sephiroth. He was broken because no matter what Sephiroth did to him, to his friends, his home, his planet... there was no hate. He was only thankful for no emotion at the moment. "So, we go to Nibelheim and kill them then?"
"Yes. We put 30 more pounds on you and then we go and kill him." He slammed back down into her seat and picked up a piece of bread. "I can hate enough for both of us, Cloud."
Cloud cocked his head to the side and returned to his seat, having regained all of his composure again now that he had finally told someone what the problem was. He finished off his bread and stared at the table, considering the plan. He would have to kill Sephiroth again and like before, what started in Nibelheim would end there. "I sometimes wish I could hate."
Tifa looked up from where she was roughly buttering her bread. "You can hate, Cloud. Everyone can hate. I didn't think I could until Sephiroth, but now I know."
Cloud stared at Tifa and shook his head a bit. "I cannot hate him. He is the use of all of this agony, yet I cannot hate. I should..." he said neutrally and instinctively reached out mentally to brush against where Sephiroth was closed off to him. Maybe if he killed Sephiroth, he would get better.
"How can you not hate Sephiroth, Cloud? After what he did?" She didn't understand. Cloud's entire journey had been to kill Sephiroth, and he had killed him out of...compassion?
"I do not know, but I cannot," was his simple reply. He didn't quite understand it himself, but that was the way that it was. Obviously his hero-worship and further feelings that had been present at one time in his life had festered into something that ruined him in the end. Yes, he killed out of compassion. He had gotten strong to save Sephiroth from madness, only to go mad himself. "Because I cannot hate him... I am as I am now."
"But...Cloud...he..." Tifa shook her head. She wanted Cloud to hate him, she needed Cloud to hate him as much as she did. "You have to hate him.
Cloud stood up and walked to where his diary had been left on the couch, and he returned with it and stood beside Tifa. He flipped through some of the beginning pages where all that was scrawled were the words 'Why can't I hate?' all over, in neat rows that were criss-cross with other lines going the opposite way, a true telling of madness. There was blood spattered on those pages, old blood. "I have tried."
Tifa looked at the diary pages, page after page of the same scrawled words. "I don't understand." Tifa looked up into her friend's eyes. "I don't understand!"
Cloud stood in front of her and flipped through the first fifty pages that were the same words all over the page and seemed to grow more and more desperate the more the pages went by. He closed the book and set it down on the couch again, returning to his seat and he stared at the table. "I do not understand either. I have tried, Tifa. I have tried to hate him, but I have not been successful."
She shook her head at Cloud and turned away from the book full of its words and its blood. "You have to hate him, Cloud."
Cloud hung his head and watched Tifa from across the table. He remained in his chair and nodded his head a bit. "I will kill him again, Tifa. I can do it a second time," he said neutrally.
"You have to. You have to do it for me, and Zack, and Aerith..." He brown eyes suddenly teared over.
Cloud slowly nodded his head. "I know," he said softly, gaze flicking over to Tifa. His body moved before his mind could bother to make a decision, and he walked over to Tifa. He slipped his arms around her waist, wanting to bring comfort to her but unsure of how to do it properly.
Tifa's lip quivered as she fought to keep her tears for Aerith, for her father, for everyone from falling. Cloud's warm arms at her waist made her want to crumple into his embrace, and yet...she couldn't. She had to be strong for him, and for herself.
Cloud remained completely still and in place in front of Tifa, pulling her to rest against his chest slowly, not wishing to startle her at all. "Cry the tears I cannot, Tifa..." he said neutrally, remembering the times that all he did was scream and cry during one of his nightmares or in a hysterical moment of insanity. He couldn't do that anymore. "I remember them, all that fell to him. We all lost something."
Cloud's words did just that, as she closed her eyes and the tears fell down her cheeks. She returned his embrace, her arms wrapping around his neck as she buried her face into his soft, golden hair.
Cloud leaned his head down a bit more and remained still as Tifa did cry, having felt it building ever seen he had seen her, but he hadn't known the cause or why she didn't release it. He placed a soft kiss on her temple and allowed his eyes to close, going back to the same old question that he could never find an answer to: Why can't I hate?
Tifa cried silently, her shoulders shaking from the force, but she would not voice the frustration and pain she had been carrying around deep in her gut ever since the end, ever since Cloud had gone away.
Cloud held Tifa against his chest, aware that he was a shadow of the muscled oddly humoured warrior that he had used to be, but he was still enough to be there for his friend. He thought that this outburst between them had been the best thing for them since they had been apart for so long.
Tifa finally pulled back a little, reaching up to wipe at her eyes. "I'm...I'm sorry Cloud." She suddenly felt ashamed for her tears, she wanted to be strong in front of Cloud. But it was so hard she found...
Cloud cocked his head to the side and, before he could stop himself, he leaned forward and pressed his lips to Tifa's forehead softly, keeping the affectionate embrace for a little bit of time. He did slowly pull back and nodded at her. "You used to cry when you thought I was asleep a before I went to the Institute. I am sorry for all that I have done to hurt you"
Tifa nodded. "I did. I did. But, I don't want to cry anymore. I want...I want to smile." She tried to smile then, but it didn't reach her eyes.
Cloud cocked his head to the side a lifted a hand to run a finger down Tifa's cheek. "You are still sad even when you smile," he said neutrally. "Do you think I can get better?"
Tifa swallowed down the lump in her throat. "I think you can, Cloud. It's just going to be hard. I wonder...I wonder if the medicine is really good."
Cloud nodded his head and took a step back, giving Tifa room instead of crowding her. "I can sleep with it, and I do not dream. I just sleep, and now I eat." He ran his fingers through his hair and looked at the ground. "I feel...nothing, but better."
"Do you want to feel though, Cloud?" She sniffed and wiped at her face again.
Cloud cocked his head to the side and looked down at his hands before looking back at Tifa. "I do, but I cannot right now. I am not ready. The cracks are still there, and I need to heal them."
"How can I heal the cracks Cloud? How can I help you?" She reached out and grabbed one of his hands.
Cloud slowly shrugged his shoulders. If he knew how to heal them, he would have done it by now. The fact that Sephiroth was back did not make things easier on him. Sephiroth had surely already seen him without medication, and that did not bode well for a fight. "I do not know. I do not know how they can be healed... if they can be healed at all."
"Nothing, nothing? You can't think of anything? There's always a way, Cloud." She reached out and gently cupped his face in her hands, staring into his blue eyes.
Cloud blinked and stared back down at Tifa. He had no answers on his own insanity since he had never truly wanted it in the first place, but it was obviously his punishment for failure, for not being able to really hate Sephiroth. No, even now, he couldn't. "Perhaps if Sephiroth is removed again? I do not know. He is closed to me, so his intentions are foreign to me." He sighed softly.
Tifa sighed, "Has he talked to you again, Cloud?"
Cloud shook his head silently and hung his head a bit. "He has made no contact. I doubt he is wishes to, or he is just waiting to catch me unaware."
"Unaware?" She frowned slightly. "Does he sound...angry? What does he seem like?"
Cloud concentrated a moment and moved over to where his small connection was, exploring it slowly to see if he could pick anything up. After a moment, he shook his head a bit. "He is closed to me. I cannot tell anything. I would have to see him or have a connection opened to me. I believe if he was angry, he would have hunted us all down and killed us by now."
Tifa nodded and dropped Cloud's hands, her eyes became downcast as she thought about this. "What if he's just biding his time? What if you're right and Jenova is back?
Cloud remained motionless save for the dropping of his hands back to his sides softly. His eyes drifted around the room and settled on his Ultima Weapon as he thought for a moment. "In my deepest madness, I thought I felt her. She was smiling at me. It was a dream, but I remember it." He shook his head a bit. "I will kill them both, even if I must kill myself to do it."
Tifa felt the breath go out of her. "No, Cloud...there must be a way that you don't need to do that. We'll find it. I promise."
Cloud looked at Tifa with his neutral expression. "I will not limit possiblities. Because of my illness, we have no contact with others. I will stop Sephiroth and Jenova at any cost, especially if Sephiroth is controlled again."
Tifa could see something in Cloud's eyes, even with his neutral expression, the showed that he meant this with his entire being. She nodded, because she had no words. "Then...let's' finish eating. So you can get your strength back."
Cloud nodded his head and returned to his seat agin, finishing his piece of bread before he looked expectatly at Tifa. He then remembered that he could get food himself and got up with his bowl, getting himself more stew. He sat and ate again, wanting to get all he could before he would be called into action again. "We sleep after this?"
Tifa sat down and forced herself to eat, her eyes downcast as she looked at her food. It wasn't until Cloud spoke to her that she broke out of her thoughts. "Yeah, we can sleep. Later we can practice, okay?"
Cloud nodded wordlessly and went back to eating, watching just how much that Tifa consumed. It would do no good for him to gain weight and for her to lose some. He managed to finish his second bowl much more quickly than the first since it was already cool, and he went back for a third bowl and began to it that too. "We practice so I cannot be defeated."
She nodded. "Yes. And then we can take a walk. It'll be good for you to get out. It's been a while, I mean."
Cloud pause in bringing the spoon to his mouth and thought about it for a moment. He had not actually been outside for the sake of being outside in a very long time. "Affirmative, I must find myself. It has been a long time since I was outside."
Tifa managed a slight smile. "You're so pale. We need to get you some sun."
Cloud blinked at Tifa and looked at his arm a bit, holding it out and compared it to Tifa's skin tone. Indeed, he was sickly pale and definately needed to get some sun. "Affirmative, but I need sleep before the sun," he pointed out, gesturing to where he thought the bedroom was as he pushed his bowl back, his hunger sated.
Tifa rose, collecting the bowls and putting them in the sink. "Then, let's get some sleep. I'm going to wash my face though." She reached up and could still feel the slight residue of her earlier tears on her cheeks.
Cloud stood as well and followed Tifa to the bathroom, not really questioning why he did. It was just something that he felt the need to do. He rubbed his eyes with a hand and stared that the toothbrush holder, wandering over to investigate it fully.
Tifa finished washing her face and noticed Cloud staring at the toothbrush holder. "You should brush, I suppose." She opened the medical cabinet and produced a blue toothbrush for him, and a red on for herself.
Cloud took the toothbrush and immediately set in the motions of brushing his teeth, something that he remembered clearly no matter the time or place. He washed his mouth out afterwards and picked up the toothbrush holder, putting his brush in it then set it down again, now assured of its purpose in the bathroom.
Tifa smiled, finishing brushing her own teeth, and then she took Cloud's hand. "Next time you can use the toothpaste." She led him out and to the bedroom. "Let's sleep now. I could use a nap."
Cloud looked at his toothbrush then at Tifa's, making a mental note to use toothpaste when brushing teeth. He followed her to the bedroom and pulled off his t-shirt, folding it up neatly and setting it aside. He kept his pants on and sat on the edge of the bed, noting that he was already gaining weight back. His metabolism must have been fast.
Tifa climbed onto the bed and pulled the covers back, slipping underneath them and curling up against the pillow. She suddenly felt exhausted after her earlier emotional outburst, perhaps napping with Cloud would be the best remedy.
Cloud watched Tifa and slipped back under the covers himself, laying himself out on his back so that he could stare at the ceiling. He blinked a few times then looked over at Tifa, pulling the covers up to his chest. "Sleep well."
Tifa reached out and took Cloud's hand in her own. "You too, Cloud. Sleep well." She gave him a small smile, and then closed her eyes.
Cloud nodded his head and continued to stare at the ceiling for awhile longer. He knew he would sleep like a brick for awhile, but he hoped it wouldn't be all day and night. He hadn't done that in years. He closed his eyes and let out a soft breath, dropping off to sleep without hesitation, a quirk of his drugs.