Characters: Tifa, Barret, Denzel, Marlene
Word count: 391
Summary: A missing moment from Advent Children. Grief, interrupted. Tifa drabble.
There was no trace of him.
Barret awkwardly patted her on the shoulder as he tried to offer some sort of comfort, his eyes red and voice gruff.
“At least he wouldn’t have felt a thing, Teef. More his style to return to the planet in a flash anyway. Better than sufferin’ like those who have the Stigma, right?”
He didn’t know, and she didn’t have the heart to tell him. And she told herself that she was glad, glad that he could see her there now.
But it still hurt unbearably to be left behind again.
She dreaded having to tell the children. It was cowardly, but she couldn’t bring herself to face the devastation in their eyes.
“I can’t. I can’t.” He was a hero! That's not how this is supposed to happen!
“We have to, Tifa. We’ll all be with you. Just a step at a time.”
She gripped his swords tighter, shaking her head as the tears ran unchecked.
“What can I say? How can I tell them? I don’t even want to know it myself.”
But words weren't necessary. Denzel cried out, stricken, when he saw their faces, the disassembled weapon. He wiped his eyes angrily on his sleeve as Tifa knelt to hold him, his hand jerking back after he touched the cold metal.
“But he said he’d come back. He said!”
“I know. I’m sorry. I’m sure he didn’t mean to break his word. He never does. But I'm sure he’ll want us to keep being strong together,” she whispered, unsure if she was holding on so tightly to comfort the boy or herself.
Marlene watched, torn between horror and conviction.
“But he is coming back!”
“He is! She said!”
Her breath caught, and she froze. They all did.
And when she spoke again, it was with a sudden clear calmness that belied the thickness in her throat, how red and runny her nose was.
“You know! The nice lady. With the flowers.”
Cid cursed a blue streak until Barret smacked him.
“The church. Tomorrow morning. She told me. Don’t cry, Tifa. It makes me sad!” she pleaded.
His place. Their place. But why?
She shut her eyes, desperately trying to find some sort of balance as a different feeling flared painfully in her chest.
“I’ll try not to, sweetie.”