He travels across the Planet, making deliveries and killing monsters. In a number of ways, his life is the same as it was before Kadaj (before Sephiroth) forced him to face the past and face himself. But he answers his phone more than he doesn’t (when he’s not losing it somewhere) and he comes home more often.
Once, that had been the house where he had grown up under his mother’s sternly loving care; the house that had burned like his mother’s body had burned.
(Once, that had been Zack, who had been the only anchor in his world other than green and pain and Hojo; Zack, lost in blood and rain and with a smile on his face as he passed on a sword of legacy.)
Tifa sleeps on, undisturbed by Cloud’s late night entrance after years of his comings and goings. Battle-roughened fingertips that grasp the bed sheets, long locks of dark hair strewn across their pillows, bare skin softly aglow in the moonlight; this is what he has been waiting to see ever since he left. Who he has been waiting to see; this steadfast woman of heart and strength enough to let him come and go from the home she has made.
And it’s you. Always you.