On the Way to a Smile, Episode: Tifa [Revised]

Tifa went to see Aerith together with her friends; Aerith, fated to lie at the bottom of the spring in the Forgotten City for eternity. The world she saved in exchange for her life would be all right now. That’s what Tifa told her. She heard a voice asking if she was all right. She didn’t know if it was Aerith’s voice or her own. Tifa couldn’t hold back the tears.

Right after Sephiroth took Aerith’s life, she had no time to grieve at all. There was sadness, but she channeled that sadness into anger and hatred toward their enemies. But now, the pain she felt when she visited this place tore her heart apart. As she fought the pain, she thought about the countless people she made feel like this as a member of Avalanche. She overflowed with tears again.

“I’m sorry, I’m really sorry.” (as heartbreaking as you can)

She felt Cloud’s hand on her shoulder. He was holding onto her firmly as if he didn’t want her to go anywhere.

For now, I’ll just let myself cry as much as I want. Then I’ll be ready to be there for him…. because I don’t know what to do all by myself.

Tifa and the friends she had journeyed with for the whole trial separated just as easily as they joined. Vincent departed abruptly, like a stranger beside you on a train who had just reached their stop. Yuffie protested. It just wasn’t right for them to split up this way after all they had been through as friends. Barret told her that they could see each other whenever they wanted, because they survived. Or maybe it was Cid.

After promising to reunite one day, Tifa, Cloud and Barret separated from the others, leaving for Corel Village. That was Barret’s hometown. For him, the tragedies that occurred there because of Mako were what started everything. Standing silently for a moment, he knew they shouldn’t have come here. He too had to go on living, bearing sins.

They then went to Nibelheim. Tifa and Cloud’s hometown. They didn’t feel any nostalgia. They were only reminded of the horrors that took place in the town.

“I shouldn’t have come,…It draws me back to the past.”

Cloud’s words spoke for the way Tifa felt too.

They then went to Kalm. There waiting for them was Aerith’s adoptive mother, Elmyra and Marlene, whom they had left in her care. Both of them were staying with Elmyra’s relatives, who owned a house there. Barret and Marlene were elated to see each other again.

Cloud spoke with Elmyra about what had happened to Aerith. They couldn’t be sure how she was feeling, but the three of them apologized for not being able to save Aerith.

“You all did what you could. There’s no need for you to apologize,”

Tifa and the others couldn’t say anything in reply.

Did we really do all we could?

There were many people who arrived in Kalm to take refuge. Ordinary homes became emergency shelters. The residents of Kalm didn’t charge them, even though they could have. Even the inn offered free rooms to those in need, but still more people had crowded on the street than it would allow. Everyone visibly had the same tired look. There were a great number of people who seemed to be infected with some kind of disease.

“The rumor said it’s an epidemic. I don’t want Marlene to be infected. C’mon, let’s go home.”

Barret held onto Marlene, with a fatherly look on his face.

“Yeah, let’s go home”

“Where to?”

“Our suspended reality.”

“What the hell do you mean by that?”

“Our normal lives.”

“And where do we have somethin’ like that?”

“We’ll find one.”

Cloud looked at Tifa as he spoke.



Tifa nodded too, but just like Barret, she wondered where that normal life might be.

The four of them arrived back at Midgar. The city had recovered from all the shock and chaos that took place right after Meteor was destroyed. People were on the move again, looking towards their future… living each day as it came. Seeing this made Tifa blame herself again. When she looked at Midgar from the sky, she had thought that it would be fine if everything just got washed away, but she didn’t count on the many lives still down there.

I’ll never forgive myself for being so selfish.

She confessed to Cloud and Barret what she was thinking aboard the airship. Even though they understood how she felt, they reminded her that no matter where they are or what they do, they would never be able to get away from the guilt they feel.

“Since that’s the case, we’ll live on. We’ll live on until we pay back for our sins. It’s the only way,”

When Tifa and Cloud were alone, he looked hesitantly into her beautiful brown eyes

“It’s not like you to be troubled by your thoughts.”

“It’s… Just the way I am.”

“No. You’re much more cheerful and strong. If you’ve forgotten the way you were then, I’ll be there to remind you.”

“Oh, you will?”


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