If I Should Wake Before I Die #1

After the first trip to the Forgotten City, Aerith comes to reassure Tifa and ask a favor. Drama with Romance, I-3

Pairing(s): Aerith/Tifa

Tifa curled on her side, biting her lip. She didn’t want to start crying again; it only wasted time and energy. Oshou-sama had always been after her about wasting energy in extraneous movement. Smoothly, Tifa, she could hear him barking. Stop flourishing and put everything into the strike!

Of course, maybe he was dead, too, now. Just like everyone else she got close to.

She hugged her pillow to her, biting down harder. Sleep. She needed to sleep, now, and in the morning… they’d think of something. Somehow.


At least the tears had worn her out. She could already feel herself drifting, down into that odd first layer of sleep where her mind still turned over thoughts and plans but her body gave up and stilled into rest. When the darkness behind her eyes lightened she thought, dream.

It was a rather nice one. Warm and soft and a lot brighter than most of her dreams, lately, which tended to have a lot of fire and screaming and blood-dulled silver in them.


She liked this a lot better; she’d almost swear she could smell grass and flowers, the hot, heavy, green scent they got under a good summer sun.

“Tifa! Come on. One of you has got to listen to me!”

Tifa blinked. Aerith was standing right in front of her, frowning, with her hands on her hips. “Ae… Aerith?” She could feel her lips trembling around the name.

Aerith’s frown softened. “Oh, Tifa. It’s all right, really. I’m fine. Now, listen…”

Tifa reached out and felt her fingers brush through a soft, wavy wing of hair, and lost it completely. The tears rushed back and hit her in the chest, and her knees buckled, and she found herself curled up again pressing a fistful of Aerith’s skirt to her cheek as she cried.

“Tifa,” Aerith whispered above her, and then she was stooping down to gather Tifa against her. “Shh. Shh, now, it’s all right.”

When Tifa could think again, she found herself lying with her head buried in Aerith’s lap, catching her breath slowly as Aerith stroked her hair. Finally she said, voice gluey with tears, “How can it be all right?”

Aerith sighed. “Do I look any worse for the wear?”

Tifa lifted her head and looked. “Well. No.” She managed a shaky smile and pulled herself upright again. And then she frowned and reached out to tilt Aerith’s chin. “You do look kind of tired, actually.”

Aerith’s smile was wry. “Yeah, well.” Her bright eyes shadowed for a moment. “It isn’t all that easy to hold myself together, right now.”

Tifa’s emotions reversed polarity fast enough to make her dizzy, and she put a protective arm around Aerith. “Are you all right? What’s wrong?” Then she made a face and muttered, “Besides the obvious.”

Aerith broke into giggles and couldn’t seem to stop, leaning against Tifa’s shoulder. “Ah. Oh, dear.” She wiped her eyes. “Well. Yes.” She took a long breath and looked at Tifa more seriously. “Listen. When you can, try to tell Cloud it wasn’t his fault, all right? He’s so wound up over this! He can’t even hear me when I’m practically shouting.”

“I’ll try.” Tifa’s mouth quirked wryly. “Repeatedly, I expect.” Aerith made a face.

“I’ll just bet.” She sighed, curling up into Tifa’s side a little more.

“Aerith,” Tifa said, gently. “Really. What’s wrong?”

“I just don’t know if I’ll be able to make it work out.” Aerith held her hands out, studying them. “I’ll do my very best, of course. I know we all will. But—”

The brightness flickered.

Aerith spat a word that shocked even Tifa, used as she was to Barrett’s language. “Sephiroth! Tifa, listen—”

“Aerith!” Tifa caught her hands, eyes wide. She couldn’t hear Aerith any more.

Aerith’s mouth tilted and her shoulders heaved. Then she squeezed Tifa’s hands and smiled and leaned toward her.

“… wake up and let’s get going!” Barrett’s large hand was shaking her shoulder and Tifa sat up. Barrett frowned. “Hey. You okay?”

“Yes,” Tifa said, distracted. “Why?”

“You’re rubbing your head. Got a headache?”

A breath of laughter puffed through Tifa’s lips and her fingers brushed one more time over her forehead where she could still feel Aerith’s lips. “No.” She smiled softly.

“I’m all right.”