Story: Ex-SOLDIER Tifa (chapter 14)

Authors: Bara Aozora

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Chapter 14

Title: Chapter 14: Remember

[Author's notes: A/N: Alright. I’m gonna try using first person perspective/POV for the first bit of this chapter. D This chapter is completely Tifa/Elena centric, so have fun with that! I certainly enjoyed writing it. xD No background music for this one. It’s not stationary enough in a type of mood to have music to fit.]


Chapter 14: Remember


She was beautiful.

I’ve been told that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If that’s true.. It wasn’t in that cheap way that people see beauty now. It was a timeless kind of beauty. In any dimension, any country, they would see her—the way she fought, carried herself, and smiled—and they would automatically know that this woman was a goddess. She was strong, caring, and smart. She did it all so naturally, and she was the one I had always looked up to. Yet somehow, she made me feel like I was her equal..

‘How does she do it?’ I always wondered. She was the epitome of perfection to me, and I adored her with all of my being, but she treated me with such respect.

Of course, back then, I couldn’t make it seem like I was worshipping her, you know? As much as I loved her, I was stubborn, and as much as I had love for her, I had my pride in myself, so it was natural that those roles would clash. I could still adore her, but be discreet about it.

It was never easy for me to say, ‘I love you.’ To her, or to anyone.

Even when I would speak with my own mother, it was unnatural. It lacked that emotion and I could never speak with her like a mother and daughter should.

“Mommy, let’s go outside!” I said once as a child. It was whiney, it was demanding, and it was stubborn. Yet, as persistent as I was, and how hard I had tried, she never would play with me. She would never talk to me, except to utter the words, “Mommy’s busy, Elena.” She would tell me, “Go find your sister,” or “Go ask Daddy to play.” I mean, I knew she wanted to take care of me, but her job required her to be on call, all the time. And as much of an attention craver I was, being the youngest, it made me resent her a little bit.

I still loved her, as a daughter should, but I could never say, “I love you, Mother.”

But with her—With Tifa—I went past that stubborn barrier. I loved her so much.. So much that I gave her my heart, my body, and my soul. I belonged to her, and I was willing to uphold that to the point that I would sacrifice myself to ensure her survival; her happiness; her freedom. I would have taken bullets for her in a heartbeat.

And what does she do?

She takes that loyalty and crushes it between her fingers. She took my heart, the heart that I gave to her so willingly, and instead of nurturing it and caring for it.. She cut it to pieces and watched it bleed with her betrayal.

So what happens to someone when their heart is crushed? What happens when their soul flies away and only the vessel remains?

They become lifeless. They lose meaning, resolve and purpose. They lose all emotion and become soulless SOLDIER, killing machines with no purpose in life except to hurt others.

Is that what I’ve become?

As I watch her through the one-way mirrored glass window, I just tell myself that I feel nothing. If I can convince myself of that, then perhaps the painful memories will go away. Maybe I can look back at the times that felt so warm, so loving, and so meaningful, and then salt them knowing that it was all a charade. A charade played by the woman whom I thought loved me, to use me as a tool in her own selfish revenge.

How bittersweet.

All of the soft touches can turn into painful scratches into my skin. The warmth of her embrace will turn to blistering irons that burned me. Her kisses—her sweet, heartfelt kisses—will turn to poison that splashed onto my lips, implanted themselves into my blood cells, and circulated through my body.

If I can morph that stupid, naïve, ignorant love into this realism.. If I can stand on my own two feet once again.. If I can forget the way she made my heart pound in my chest every time she looked my way. If I could stop loving her..

Then maybe I could live my own life.

For my own sake. Not hers.


For the first time in a while, Tifa felt okay. Not 100, but she was feeling stronger physically, at least. Her head was still a throbbing mess of goo, but she learned a few days before that couldn’t be helped. She sat alone in her detention cell after that strange encounter with Aeris—or at least she figured it was Aeris—listening to the quiet buzzing of the lights, the ticking clock in the corner, and her own long, steady inhales and exhales. She remembered, vaguely, how she ended up in there: That pathetic fight against the nameless robots, and collapsing just outside the lab. Elena had come to save her butt, and..

That woman came. Her head was way too out of it to make out what they were saying, but she blacked out before she had the chance to see Elena kick her ass. There was no way Elena could have been beaten by her.

But.. Wait.. Why would Tifa be in there if she won? If she won, she would have dragged her out of there. So.. Maybe Elena passed out too..!

The sudden realization reached the brunette, and she stood up, looking for any way she could escape. “Shit.. I have to go help her!” And what about Marlene? And Denzel? And Jessie and Yuffie? What happened to them?

Tifa searched for her COM link, but it was gone. How the hell? It was practically embedded into her ear and back molar..

“I’m sure you’ll find that all of your equipment is gone, my dear Prodigy,” That voice spoke through the speakers in the top corner of the room. “It seems you severely underestimated us. Come now, you should remember who made you into who you are.” The fighter’s defenses were automatically raised and she became alert, ready for a surprise attack.

“Where’s Elena?” Tifa barked to the voice. She grit her teeth and glared up at the speaker amp. She knew that wasn’t where that bitch actually was, but it was close enough to vent her rage towards.

She could hear a soft chuckle, followed by the same smug voice, “Why, she’s right here.” The light on the other side of the observation window turned on to show Elena, standing there with a new outfit—A new ShinRa outfit.

Tifa could have sworn her heart had stopped.

She rushed to the window, confused, worried, betrayed. She placed her hands on the glass and stared helplessly. Tifa hated the fact that she was wearing an outfit from ShinRa, and Elena must have hated it too. She always hated it, didn’t she? That’s what she used to say.. It was a black, skin-tight cat suit, with armor pads for the shoulder, elbow, torso and legs. And of course, they had that ugly ShinRa logo on it..

“What the hell have you done to her?” Tifa asked angrily, more desperately. Elena couldn’t have been doing this of her own accord. They must have brainwashed her, or tricked her, or even erased her memories again! She must be doing this to trick them! Elena couldn’t have gone back to them after all we had been through..

“What have I done? I’m sorry, but you must have forgotten what you did to her, my dear,” That voice. That horrible, horrible voice resonated through the speakers and bore a hole into the brunette’s head. What could she have possibly done to Elena that would make her switch sides so fast?

As if their relationship meant nothing to her.

As if Tifa meant nothing to her.

Tifa could only desperately try to remember anytime she had been anything less than wonderful towards the blonde, and though it was a conceited thought, she felt forsaken. Didn’t she treat her like a queen back then? ‘Sure, there were times I’d tease her, or I’d give her some criticism.. But that wasn’t even close to this..’ Tifa thought to herself. She felt abandoned by the one she loved at the time she needed her most. Tifa didn’t know what the hell she had done.. And she was being punished for it.

Perhaps this scientist had a sick, twisted sense of humor, or got a certain strange enjoyment out of torturing the two women. Like guinea pigs, or experimental moomba, the scientist could have just gotten a sadistic pleasure out of their mental torment. After all of the mental torment she received in her past, she felt she should pass along the karma. It was like pulling the wings off of flies, or burning ants with a magnifying glass.. These women were disposable, but there were always the exceptional ones that she favored and followed around like a curious child. Tifa and Elena were those exceptions. She felt like a puppet master.. Trying to push her puppets to the limits, just to see what would happen.

“Don’t you recall, Miss Lockhart?” The taunting voice of the scientist echoed through the intercom, “That day you sacrificed your beloved to raise your rank and reputation?”

Tifa still stared silently at Elena, unsure of what to think, how to feel, or what to say. Elena couldn’t even hear her, so what could she possibly say to convince her? She definitely had other means of communication, since they both had mastered sign language during their training, but Tifa’s hands were too numb and too frozen to even consider the action. Once the words of the mystery woman registered into Tifa’s mind, her eyes widened and turned to the speaker, “I would never do such a thing..!”

“Oh but you did, and you did it in such a convincing way, too.” That voice droned her words, slowly and painfully, wanting to wring and pull every agonizing second out of Tifa’s sanity, “Here, let me remind you, my prodigy..”

And the recording played, a little static was with it, verifying that it was a recording.

Sergeant Elena White. You are now under arrest for conspiracy against ShinRa Inc.”

Tifa froze. That was her voice. Not Elena’s, but Tifa’s. It was how she sounded maybe five years ago. The recording triggered the memories, flashing sections of the timeframe in her already abused head. She grasped her head with both hands in a feeble attempt to hold it together and keep it from exploding, her eyes wide and her pupils becoming smaller and unfocused.

Take her away.

She had done it. She betrayed Elena.. But why? She remembered the cold, ugly feeling.. She didn’t want to do it. So why did she?

The voice continued, “You must be asking yourself-”

“Shut up! Just shut up!” Tifa’s interruption stunned the voice slightly.

And Tifa had lost all of her solidity. All of her stability just flew out of the door, along with her resolve and her certainty. She held her head and shut her eyes as tightly as she could in her vain endeavors to force away the voice and the actions she had done. How had she betrayed her like that? How could she atone for causing this whole mess? Why did she do it?

“Asking yourself..” The voice continued with the grin as blatant in her voice as it was on her face. This was her entertainment. “Why did you arrest her, Tifa? Hm?”

The woman was clearly having the time of her life in this psychological torture. Her maniacal laughter reverberated through the room, and it was driving Tifa mad.

Elena, through her attempt at being stoic and robotic, could see Tifa distressing on the other side of the glass. Suddenly, her training meant nothing. She could hear everything the scientist said, but she couldn’t hear a word Tifa said. Her knuckles tensed and her heart wrenched at the sight of Tifa agonizing under the voice who convinced her of this. Elena couldn’t deny the fact that even if Tifa betrayed her all those years ago, she hadn’t betrayed her since, or prior to that day. Everyone makes mistakes.. And for once in her life, she should try to forgive rather than forget. She couldn’t let Tifa suffer like this!

She rushed to the window and banged on it with her fist, trying to get Tifa’s attention enough to distract her from whatever pain was being caused. She wanted to let her know that she forgave her! But alas, her efforts were hopeless. Tifa had crouched like a child, succumbed to her own memories and the torture that came along with it, “Tifa! Tif!” Elena grit her teeth as she watched the woman writhe in her mental anguish.

The voice was quieter, less taunting, and more thought provoking, “Why did you do it, Tifa?” Tifa, frozen in her brain anguish, wasn’t sure if that was still the voice in the intercom or if it was her own inner voice asking that, “Did she mean nothing to you? Was revenge really that important?”

And with that, the flood of memories revived themselves in Tifa’s head. Her eyes still wide and her pupils so small that they almost looked lifeless.

Good work, Lieutenant.”

The moment she arrested Elena, the feelings of lonely continuation, as if she had lost a comrade on the field and she was now the living dead, alive enough to continue through the motions, but dead on the inside without her. Still, it was a part of the plan. She had to do it to increase her rank. The company had recognized this, and appointed her as the bodyguard of the president.. And that was when she launched her attack. That was her intent. She did all of that, suffered for all of those years, betrayed the only person she could ever truly claim to have loved, just for that singular moment of truth. And she failed at her assassination.

Perhaps she had been too distracted.. Or perhaps it was all of the Turks and SOLDIER X Prototypes that stopped her, arrested her, and erased her memories, kicking her out to the streets of Midgar to be found by Barret.

Had Tifa planned that? No, if she had planned it, then it wouldn’t have left her with such a desolate feeling. Tifa, through the blinding pain searing through her head, strove to recall the encounters beforehand.

And now the puppet master decided that now was a good time to allow Elena to speak to Tifa. The door separating the two rooms opened, but since Tifa was incapacitated, Elena took it as a sign that she was now allowed to see her. If anything, Elena wanted to run over to Tifa and comfort her, hold her close and keep her there until all of the bad memories were gone.

However, Elena knew that the scientist was watching. So she knew she couldn’t make it obvious that she wanted to help Tifa. She had to feign hatred.

She stood, fists balled and her stance ready.. She was going to help Tifa, and she was going to help herself. All of her inner turmoil had to be released, and she knew Tifa was strong enough to take it, even with her current mental state of defeat. It was cruel and unusual methods, but Elena felt there was no other choice if they wanted to get out of there eventually.

The sadist probably expected her to fight Tifa with vengeful drive. So she had to give the woman her twisted entertainment to get out of there unscathed.

However, vision and life returned to Tifa’s eyes and she opened them with sudden recollection. Her head shot up and she knew why.

The two prodigy SOLDIERs prepared themselves mentally for the battle they were about to endure. The only way they could physically prepare were the hidden knives on Elena’s person, and the solid gloves in Tifa’s pocket, ready to be equipped. Unsurely, the young brunette looked over to her blonde companion.

Are you sure about this?” She asked, clearly reluctant to pursue the plan Elena had crafted.

Of course I am! Look, if they think you’re loyal enough to them that you could betray me..” Elena tried to sound convincing, but she couldn’t help but feel afraid herself. “They know about our relationship now.. So they’re probably going to separate us anyway, right?” Elena was the one who formulated this plan, yes, but it didn’t mean she had to like it. “If they see that you can turn me in, it would squash all of their suspicions, give you way more credit, and knowing them, they’d probably promote you, too.” It wasn’t much, but it was the best one she could think of. The only one either of them could think of, really. However confident they were, neither of them were thrilled about the fact that they had to be separated.. And who knows what they would do to Elena when imprisoned.. The blonde was willing, though, to suffer through this if Tifa could manage to take down President ShinRa. She could be freed after Tifa succeeds anyways.. And she was confident enough, or cocky enough, to think she could easily escape from whatever prison they put her in.

Tifa sighed.. She knew they were going to be pulled apart regardless. She overheard their officers and scientists talking about them, and their plans for them. Not one minute longer could either of them spend being ShinRa’s little experiments; Especially if they weren’t going to be together. They had tried to come up with dozens of plans, all of which ended in failed outcomes, and since they weren’t going to be together anymore.. This was their only shot at fulfilling their purpose. So they had to go with what they had.

Again, it didn’t mean they had to like it. Tifa, feeling the desperation of the pending separation, wrapped her arms around the blonde tightly, as if it were the last time she would ever get to do so, and she felt the girl grasp onto her with an equal amount of fervor. They were both scared, but they had no other choice.

Tifa slowly, reluctantly, pulled away, whispering softly, “Hey, Elena.. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but..”

Elena shook her head, avoiding eye contact so the unconfident feeling she had wouldn’t show in her eyes, “Don’t make it sound like we’re gonna die, Tif.. I’ll definitely see you again.” She couldn’t say that with 100 percent conviction, but she knew they’ll both survive.

Tifa cupped the girl’s face with her hand and turned Elena’s head back towards her, looking at her directly in her eyes, “But.. In case I don’t see you for a while, then.. I just wanted to say that I’d never forget you.” Tifa knew, that even though she had to fake the betrayal, and that she will have to say things she doesn’t want to say, she wouldn’t mean any of it.

Elena grounded herself enough to be able to look into her girlfriend’s, her love’s, eyes, “Neither will I. No matter what happens, I’ll always remember you.”

..I love you, Elena.”

I love you too, Tifa.”

Tifa, in her older state, turned to see Elena standing in the doorway, ready to fight. She was shocked, for one, to see the woman there at all. This felt like some profound kind of nightmare.. But she could tell from this physical pain caused by mental means that it wasn’t. For two, she was hesitant. The normally confident and headstrong Ex-SOLDIER, faced against her equal, her love, and her partner.. It could possibly be the scariest moment of her life. If she were to fight to win, who knows what would happen to Elena. If she were to lose, well, she’d get beaten up herself. There was no winner. Elena was so convinced of the betrayal that she was willing to fight her.. All that they had been through suddenly flew out of the window.

So, she was determined to make Elena remember. Tifa knew that if Elena could remember the set up and the betrayal, she would remember it was all fake and she would change her mind in a heartbeat. Tifa didn’t even want to go through with that plan! It was just their only option, and Tifa had failed them.. And she was going to make up for it!

Still, it seemed ridiculous that both of them were going to fight each other, even though they were only fighting each other for selfless reasons. Elena was going to fight her to ensure the act that the scientist was waiting for would be played. So even if she still forgave her, she had to feign hatred. In other words, she was fighting to keep them safe. Tifa was going to fight Elena to make her remember, because if she couldn’t listen through words, actions would have to follow. Elena clearly still didn’t remember, but Tifa did, so she was going to force her to remember. Interesting logic.

But first.. She looked at the girls eyes again. That secret language that they spoke through their eyes.. It was blocked off before. Elena had closed her heart from her. Through all of this confusion and misinterpretation, Elena had completely tried to separate herself.. But now, Tifa could see a glimpse of hope. There was a tinge of regret in Elena’s eyes, and there flashed an instance of hope that Tifa knew was the girl that she loved trying to escape from this charade.

Elena still doubted her, and from the looks of it, she was pretty convinced by ShinRa about what had happened. After all, they had audio proof and whatever screwed up means they used to get to her.. So Tifa just had to be a little bit more persuasive.

Elena’s eyes still flashed with determination, a flame that reflected her intention. She was going to fight Tifa, but just for the show for that bitch up there. At least, she hoped just for show.

If she were to get carried away.. “Prepare yourself, Lockhart.” She said with a cold, icy tone to her statement. She had no weapons on her—only her bare fists. This was going to be a brawl, and she knew that’s what that woman expected. If they tired each other out, they would just be captured, memories erased and she would try again..

Tifa nodded and took her stance, concentration and focus bringing her back to her training days against Elena. It was just like a sparring match, right?

They were going to fight, but what was going through Elena’s head? Why were they fighting? For that woman? Was Elena serious? She didn’t even really want to fight! She was going to beat the truth into the blonde’s head, and she had decided on it, but now she was hesitating again. Honestly, Tifa would rather talk than fight. She knew it made her seem like a wuss, but..

POW! While Tifa was distracted by her thoughts, ironically, her thoughts of how she used to be concentrated and focused, Elena had rushed towards her and planted a jumping spinning back kick into her torso, sending her flying back to the opposite wall.

The scientist watched from the cameras she planted in the corners of the room, “Ooh, that’s gotta hurt!” How delicious it was, seeing a battle filled with anger, deceit, and heartache. Confusion, inward conflict and mistrust. It was her will to make them fight and hate each other. She had lived vicariously through her two prodigies, and now she felt that they should experience the same kind of pain she did, all those years ago. She sat back in her chair and watched the drama unfold.

Tifa slammed against the white wall, surprised that she hadn’t left a body-shaped dent in it. What was wrong with her? She’d normally see that attack coming from a mile away. Elena had gotten faster. Or perhaps her will to fight the blonde had deteriorated enough to affect her reaction time.

“All of those times you exceeded me..” Elena said in a voice that was almost no louder than a whisper, her head low and her voice no louder than a whisper, “Outranked me, outdone me..” Elena had never voiced her envy of the woman before, but now that her doubt had surfaced, all of the spite had come along with it, “I felt so useless! So worthless!”

Elena raised her head, reaching Tifa, standing right in front of her and grabbing the collar of her shirt, glaring at her right in the eye. Was she still pretending? Or was it her real feelings now? “I was never good enough for you! You..!”

At this close of a distance, she kneed the woman in the gut, and then elbowed her in the shoulder with a downward strike. “You never needed me! You were just using me!” Elena had forgotten her purpose and was lost in her sea of emotions.

Tifa had lost her will. Her head was a torrent of uncertainty now. She didn’t want to fight Elena. She had thought she treated the girl so well during their training, but now, as she listened to her love’s jealousy of her, she could do nothing but allow her to punish her. All of this could have been avoided, and they would have lived their fairy-tale ‘happily-ever-after’ if she had succeeded in her mission that day.

She thought she loved Elena too much to fight her back that moment. She never thought of the woman as worthless, and she never planned to use her, but her voice wouldn’t come out. Tifa couldn’t tell her how she felt. Her stomach sank from the gut-wrenching knee attack, and her shoulder nearly dislocated from the elbow strike, but she remained stagnant, her head low in shame. Of course she needed Elena. She still needs her.

Elena kept changing her mind. She was originally not planning to even attack Tifa, but now that she recalled, she couldn’t help but wonder what she was to the brunette. “Talk to me, dammit!” She growled, shaking the woman as her rage took over. She grabbed hold of both of Tifa’s shoulders and forced her back against the wall, her head automatically brought up to look Elena in the eyes once again. Her eyes stung with tears that threatened to spill. Tears of anger, pain, heartache and confusion.

Elena was desperate for answers. “Was I your plaything? Your sex toy?” She needed answers, “Your lackey? Your slave?” She was searching.. “Was I just that girl you could walk all over, mess with, and throw away? Make me fall stupidly in love with you, give my heart to you and let you just throw it on the ground and crush it?” For the truthful answers that could only come from Tifa. She choked out through her tears and grit teeth, her resolve to fight fading as she looked at her pillar of strength in front of her crumble. “Tifa.. Did you even love me?”

And with that question, Tifa snapped back to her usual state. Her eyes went from being cloudy and unsure to bright and confident once again, and she stared right at Elena while she planted her back against the wall and lifted her knees, landing a strong double-legged push kick against the blonde’s torso. Shot for shot, wasn’t it? “How can you even ask that?” She said, her fists held so tightly that she felt her own nails biting into her palms. “Of course I loved you! Of course I needed you!”

Elena was stunned by the attack, soaring backwards and hitting the bed that Tifa had been sitting on. Neither of them anticipated a real argument or fight, but here they were. Elena let out a cough, the air from her lungs had escaped and she was urgently trying to reclaim it. By this point, she fell to the floor with her back against the bed frame weakly watching as Tifa caught up with her, straddling her waist and grabbing her by that dreaded ShinRa outfit’s collar as she had done to Tifa earlier.

“You should know better than anyone else that I was willing to do anything for you!” Tifa saw the tears stream down Elena’s face, but she continued her words, “I never felt like I outranked you, because you were always equal to me.. You were always there for me! Through the training, the injections, the battles, the missions..!”

She bit her lip a little, fighting back her own tears, “You were my strength, Elena..” She kept staring into the blonde’s eyes; even if Elena refused to let the brown eyes, that were so much like her own, persuade her like they always had. “Without you there, I would have never survived on my own. You were the reason I kept go-”

“Bullshit!” Elena pulled a reversal on the girl, flipping her over and pinning her, even if Tifa’s legs were still around her waist. “The only reason you needed me was to get to ShinRa!”

If Elena wasn’t going to listen, Tifa would make her listen.

“No! Don’t you remember?” Tifa arched her back into a back bridge and planted her hands into the floor, “We..” Tifa used her hips to flip Elena over, throwing her to the floor behind with her legs, “We had to do something while we were still together..”

They lay sprawled on the floor for a few seconds, but to the two women, it felt like forever. The heavy breaths could be heard throughout the room, but they weren’t from fatigue as much as emotional distress. Elena, through the confusion and lies, knew she had to find the answers in her own memory, and not to let it be swayed.

Then, just as quickly as they fell, they scrambled to their knees in defense. Elena still wasn’t convinced, but she was willing to hear Tifa’s story.

They grabbed each other’s arms in an attempt to gain control again, but once again, it was a stalemate. “You thought of that plan!” Tifa, in her haste, had loosened her grip and Elena faltered for a moment, surprised by her words. “They found out about us..! And they were going to separate us! I didn’t want to go along with it, but we had no other choice.”

“How could you say tha-“ Elena’s burning eyes, filled with wrath and anger, blinked as the memory refreshed.

Tifa saw that glimpse of hope again, through the corrupted, misinformed mind. She had to keep pushing at it, “We had to do something, because separate, we knew we couldn’t take them on our own.” Tifa looked away, “I couldn’t think of a plan, but you.. You wanted to sacrifice yourself because we were so sure I could single-handedly assassinate ShinRa as his bodyguard. Then we would have escaped together..”

It looked like Tifa was finally getting through to the blonde, as the logic turned wheels in her mind.

“Don’t listen to her,” The voice on the intercom seethed, “She’s lied to you before, and of course she’ll lie again. She knows you’re stronger than her. She knows what really happened, and she’s just trying to distract you.”

“Elena..” Tifa said, her eyes softening, though stinging with tears. She used to be a SOLDIER, she wasn’t supposed to cry, but here she was, wracked by her strongest emotions in the face of the woman she never was able to escape. She never wanted to escape her. So releasing the blonde’s arms, Tifa lowered her defenses once again, carefully placing her hand on Elena’s cheek, “It was my failure that made all of this happen..” Two tears, seeping out from the edges of Tifa’s eyes, spilled onto the floor.

This image of Tifa in front of her paralleled exactly to that Tifa from five years before, just before they had begun the plan, ‘Tifa..

Feeling Tifa’s fingers stroke her cheek, Elena’s memory flashed. In instances of nanoseconds each, she remembered each kiss, each caress, and each time Tifa looked at her the way she was looking at her that moment. This way that she loved her, this way that no one could properly describe in words, was still fresh and obvious in her mind. So much that she wondered how, and why, the hell she was being so selfish. How—and why—the hell could she ever have doubted this woman, who had so much faith, trust and love in her.

It was that moment that the confusion had lifted, and Elena clearly remembered each moment of that day. She did think of that plan.. And she was so certain that it would work, that she literally bet her life on it. Still, it didn’t work, and as much blame as Tifa put on herself for not completing the task, Elena blamed herself for coming up with the plan to begin with.

But that was a matter of consequence that was best saved for later. The blonde scientist was still supervising their actions, just for her own twisted pleasure, and now they were being less entertaining. Elena remembered that she had to hate Tifa for this little moment in time, but she couldn’t close her heart off from her anymore. That secret language that they spoke was revived and they had a deep, meaningful conversation within a matter of milliseconds.

I’m sorry.

There’s nothing to be sorry for.”

Then, Elena swatted the brunette’s hand away from her cheek, stood, and stepped away from her, “You’ll never get me to believe your lies.” Elena said spitefully. However, the amount of venom in her voice was considerably less than earlier.

I’ll come back for you.

Okay, I’ll be waiting.

There was a secret smile under her scornful look, one that only Tifa could see. Stepping backwards, the blonde retreated to the room she was in previously, the door shutting solidly behind her by the push of a button.

Tifa sighed and feigned dejection. At least Elena remembered the truth now. She fell back onto the floor, emotionally and physically exhausted, and laughed to herself in that shaking way to make it look like she was crying. She was probably failing at it but.. Whatever.

“Hmph,” The scientist scoffed, crossing her arms unhappily. That wasn’t as fun as she hoped it would be.

She leaned forward in her desk and watched the brunette with a minute interest, “Miss Tifa Lockhart.. My prodigy.” She grinned a slow and sly grin, “You’ve got her wrapped around your little finger, don’t you?”

She traced a finger along the screen of the monitor, “Or perhaps it’s the other way around?”


I don’t really know what I was thinking when I doubted her. I’ve never desperately needed anything in my life other than air, food, clothes and shelter, you know? Maybe a bit of helpful materia here and there.. Maybe some kind of transportation.. But that’s not my point. I didn’t think I would need another person. Ever. And I guess when you’ve loved and trusted someone, you don’t expect them to betray that.. But with the way our minds work, we become a little paranoid that someone we gave our hearts to just might do that.

I should have known better than to believe what a complete stranger told me about Tifa. Even if she had evidence.. Contrary to what the evidence actually said, everything else Tifa had done for me was better than I could have asked for. She was the family I never had.

And I thought I never would desperately need another person in my life..

But I need her.

And as conceited as this may sound, I think she needs me too.

That warm, optimistic smile on her face when she shoots that grin at me.. That sometimes gentle, sometimes firm way she touches me.. And that look in her eyes—those damn beautiful brown eyes—that captivate me every time with how much adoration there seems to be in them.. That look when we were about to do that final mission in SOLDIER, when we held each other with such desperation in hopes of not being separated.. If those aren’t signs of how much she needs me.. Then I don’t know what is.

It isn’t stupid, naïve love that I have for her. It’s real love in its best form: Requited. I was standing on my own two feet; I just had Tifa there beside me in case I tripped.

She completes me, and I love her. I love the way she makes my heart pound, the way I still turn red at her compliments.. I don’t think I’ll ever stop loving her.

To get through this.. We’ll need to work together. In order to get out of here.. I can’t doubt her like I did. That ShinRa scientist is going to try to confuse me again.. But I won’t let it happen. And I know Tifa wouldn’t either. I have to make that woman believe that I still hate Tifa.

I don’t know.. I don’t want to do it.

I need to talk to her.. But she’s still in that room. I want to see her.. But I can’t. Right now, I’ve got to focus on what should be done, and how it would be done.

I’ve decided I should stop being so selfish.. And live my life by her side.

For both of us, not just myself.

[End notes:

A/N: Well there it is! This is a pretty dense chapter, I think. A lot happens, and it’s mostly internal. I know I always say this, but sorry for the delayed update. I actually had the majority of this chapter finished like a month ago.. I just couldn’t figure out how to end it. Please don’t hold any grudges on me ToT;.. As always, read and review! And look forward to the next chapter. xD I’m going to try to make it have a little bit of everyone :D.. Well not everyone, but the cast of my fanfic at least. xD

Sorry for the lack of BGM. I kinda imagined the whole thing to be in a state of silence. Hope you enjoyed it!


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