Tifa Lockheart was desperate for anything.
Between wishing she could fix her truck and wishing she could fix her life, there was no peace of mind for the young martial artist.
Three years past, and still things felt so unsolved. With no Shinra dominating the world, organizations and companies of all sorts and shapes and sizes were now coming out of the woodwork. It was a world freed of the oppression experienced by the Shinra Corporation and Sephiroth. This world was one driven to rebuild, to spread out, to expand, and to dominate. New towns, new cities, new technologies...
Quite suddenly, Tifa felt old.
Quite suddenly, Tifa felt abandoned.
Like all heroes, she learned quickly that with its safety guaranteed for the time being, the world no longer required the services of a warrior. Sure, Avalanche had its fifteen minutes of fame but after that, they became prey for tabloids and ridiculous conspiracy theories. They became figureheads...symbols with no use and no meaning.
Well...perhaps Barret Wallace and Cait Sith, otherwise known as Reeve, could say differently. Barret (as all expected) returned to Corel and helped it become the prime supplier of energy through use of its coalmines. It quadrupled in size and was now considered the 'city of opportunity'. Tifa couldn't have been prouder.
Reeve, for all extensive purposes, found it necessary to help those in Mideel and Midgar. Thus far he had built the citizens of Mideel a new town on the island, one that he named quite aptly, "New Mideel". He also managed to rebuild two-fourths of Midgar, making it safer, and better, than it was before.
Red XIII, otherwise known as Nanaki, returned to Cosmo Canyon after Meteor. Two years later Bugenhagen died, and Nanaki became the leader and guardian of the Canyon. Cid, returning to Shera, married the young scientist, and the two had a baby last year. The baby was a girl. They named her 'Misty'. Vincent, being the silent and anti-social person that he was, took to wandering the world, not unlike Yuffie did when Avalanche first met her. The ninja herself had returned to Wutai, bringing with her the materia the group had been willing to part with (which was still a substantial amount) and more money than perhaps even her father had. Yuffie was indeed, smug.
Cloud...though he had regained his memory, chose to isolate himself. Tifa would like to say that he was as bad as Vincent, but at least Vincent called by every so often. Cloud avoided them all. Tifa wasn't even sure where he was at the moment.
Thoughts of the blonde led the woman to abandon her efforts with her truck for the time being. Tifa was standing in her garage, smudges on her cheeks and chin, dirty denim overalls held up by a single strap whilst the other side of the overalls hung limp. Sighing, the woman dumped the wrench she held in her hand in the toolbox to her side. Stooping down briefly, she picked the toolbox from the floor and placed it on the shelf at the back. "Another day..." Tifa said, snatching a rag from the same shelf and wiping her hands, which were black with oil. Glaring back at her truck, an old Shinra model, she pointed her finger at it and said, "You're gonna work, or else!"
When the truck didn't reply, the woman rolled her eyes and switched the light off as she exited through the door to the kitchen. The linoleum floor was checkered black and white, the fridge an aged relic of times now long past. Opening its door, Tifa took a beer from inside, twisting off the cap and muttering, "Need to get some groceries..." she shut the refrigerator door with a bump of her side. Taking a swig of the beer, Tifa migrated from her kitchen into her living room, which she had decorated with an excess of pillows and candles. The overall color scheme was a rich and soft lavender and indigo.
Crashing into her couch, Tifa already felt the tension in her muscles melt away and she sighed luxuriously. Kicking off her boots, she lay out on the sofa completely, her head propped up by a pillow and her feet dangling over the armrest on the other end. Half stretching, half reaching, Tifa grabbed the remote control from the coffee table, and pushing the power button, her TV turned on.
This was how Tifa Lockheart lived. Each day, she'd wake up, have breakfast, work on the truck till noon, stop and eat lunch, continue working on the truck until late evening, then she'd stop, have a beer, and fall asleep on the couch. Occasionally she did volunteer work, but she didn't really need a steady job. The money she earned with her adventures in Avalanche was enough to put her in retirement. Even after three years, Tifa barely spent any money on anything more than she needed. She had always been simple that way.
Though, at times, the loneliness would get to her, she would only have to remember that Corel was only a few hours away, and Rocket Town? It was barely a forty-five minute drive. ("If I can get the truck to work." Tifa thought with a roll of her eyes.) She had, by now, come to terms with the fact that she and Cloud would never be. Cloud still felt responsible for Aeris' death, and was still in a short of shock over all that had happened to him. Tifa supposed she understood how he felt.
She was still in a bit of shock too.
The town she lived in, a generally new and still growing town, was called Tiesmire. Here, Tifa chose to start her new life...if one could call her current existence that. Dissatisfaction and depression rested deep within Tifa, as much as she tried to remain optimistic about things. She tended to avoid the locals, burying herself in her work in the garage. The truck she had taken from Nibleheim. It hadn't run for years and it became almost a town landmark...however, Tifa felt, despite the pain and tragedy experienced within the limits of the town, she needed to take a piece of it with her. Somehow, in her head, she had managed to convince herself that if she fixed the truck...
...Then she'd fix the past.
The television set washed Tifa's wearied face in its glow. The volume was low, so the woman couldn't understand what was being said. She focused on the lips of the man on the screen, who was currently holding up a book. His face seemed waxy and stretched, and his teeth looked false. Placing a hand on the book he was holding up, the man mouthed the word 'destiny'. Slowly, Tifa's eyes began to droop and the word appeared in her head as vivid and as real as if it were a living breathing creature sitting before her.
Whispering the word to herself, Tifa gradually slipped into an uneasy sleep.