An analysis of the Last Night scene should begin with Cloud’s speech in the preceding scene when he tells everyone to go find what they’re fighting for. Let’s take a closer look at that moment:
Cloud “What are we all fighting for? I want us all to understand that.”
Cloud “Save the planet… for the future of the planet… Sure, that’s all fine.”
Cloud “But really, is that really how it is?”
Cloud “For me, this is a personal feud.”
Cloud “I want to beat Sephiroth. And settle my past.”
Cloud “Saving the planet just happens to be a part of that.”
Cloud “I’ve been thinking.”
Cloud “I think we all are fighting for ourselves.”
Cloud “For ourselves… and that someone… something… whatever it is, that’s important to us.”
Cloud “That’s what we’re fighting for.”
Cloud “That’s why we keep up this battle for the planet.”
Cloud “I know why I’m fighting.”
Cloud “I’m fighting to save the planet, and that’s that.”
Cloud “But besides that, there’s something personal too…”
Cloud “A very personal memory that I have.”
Cloud “What about you all?”
This is a very interesting speech that Cloud makes to the others before he tells them to leave the Highwind. During this speech, Cloud says that they are all fighting for that someone… something… whatever it is, that’s important to each of them. Then Cloud tells us why he is fighting. He says that he is fighting for a “very personal memory” that he has. Is that “very personal memory” more likely to be Aerith or Tifa?
Tifa is standing right there on the bridge of the Highwind as he is saying this to everyone, so she is not a memory. This also means that Tifa is not that special someone or something that is important to him. What is important to Cloud is this “very personal memory” of his. It becomes even clearer that Tifa is not this special someone who is important to Cloud in the next few lines.
Scene 136 – Understanding –
(The scene fades in to show Cloud and Tifa alone on the bridge.)
(Tifa is still watching the clouds go by.)
Cloud “What are you going to do, Tifa?”
(She turns to him)
Tifa “Did you forget?”
Tifa “I’m… all alone. I don’t have anywhere to go.”
If Tifa is that special someone or something that Cloud is fighting for, then why does he forget that she has no place to go? Cloud is obviously not even expecting Tifa to stay around. He’s expecting her to go elsewhere. Wouldn’t Cloud be expecting her to stay with him if there was anything personal going on between them, or if he had interest in a relationship with her?
It should also be noted that the name of this scene is “Understanding”, which is a rather odd title for a supposedly romantic scene.
Tifa “Everyone’s gone…”
Cloud “Yeah, we don’t have anywhere or anyone to go home to.”
(She looks down.)
Tifa “You’re right…”
Cloud generalizes the first part with “we”, which includes him and Tifa. Cloud also says that they don’t have “anyone” to go home to, which is another indication that Cloud doesn’t consider Tifa to be special to him. If Tifa were that special someone Cloud is fighting for, or if he was actually interested in a relationship with her, wouldn’t he be feeling that his home is with her?
Tifa responds first with movement – she looks down. Clearly, this has an impact on her. Does she take it as a confession from Cloud that he doesn’t have anyone to go to, including her? The ellipsis at the end of “You’re right…” would also signify that Tifa hasn’t said all that she intended to say, that there is added thought behind her statement, and/or it’s not precisely what she meant.
(She looks up and straightens her hair with one hand.)
Tifa “But… I’m sure someday… they’ll come back, don’t you think?”
(He crosses his arms)
Cloud “Hmm… I wonder…?”
Cloud “Everyone has an irreplaceable something they’re holding on to…”
Cloud “But this time, our opponent…”
(A long pause.)
(The sound of the wind fades. Tifa nods)
Cloud’s line, “But this time, our opponent… ”, seems slightly out of place to me, especially if you are trying to interpret this as a romantic scene. Cloud has just said that everyone has an irreplaceable something they’re holding on to. If Tifa is that “irreplaceable something” for Cloud, then why does he switch topic and start talking about their opponent?
Tifa “Hmm… But that’s all right, even if no one comes back.”
Tifa “As long as I’m with you… As long as you’re by my side… I won’t give up even if I’m scared.”
Why this sudden confession from Tifa? Why did Tifa suddenly blurt this out? Is she prompting a response from Cloud? Is she fed up with Cloud not confirming whether he has kept his yearning for her affection as an adult?
(He uncrosses his arms and looks at Tifa.)
Cloud “… Tifa…”
(She moves her arms behind her.)
Cloud’s response is just her name flanked by ellipsis. Why? Why doesn’t he say “me too”? Tifa is being rather bold about this whole issue and is apparently trying to prompt a response from him. If Cloud loves her, then why doesn’t he say it? Isn’t this his best chance to say it? There’s a pretty good chance that they won’t survive the battle with Sephiroth. Surely he realizes that… Tifa certainly does… yet he doesn’t take this opportunity to go along with the conversation and admit it. Would he rather just bring it up out of the blue?
Tifa “No matter how close we are… We were far apart… before this.”
Tifa “But when we were in the Lifestream surrounded by all those screams of anguish, I thought I heard your voice…”
(She closes her eyes, crying softly. Her arms fall to her sides and she bows her head.)
Tifa “…sniff… you probably don’t remember this…”
Tifa “But deep in my heart I heard you calling my name… Or at least I thought I did…”
The third and fourth lines that Tifa says are clearly prompted by her thinking that Cloud may not remember this for some reason. Why? Probably an important hint as to why she says this is her “sniff”. Is she crying because she believes Cloud has forgotten it for some reason? What is it?
(Cloud looks away and puts a hand to his face)
Cloud “Yeah… At that time I heard you calling me.”
Cloud “You were calling me back in from the stream of consciousness in the Lifestream.”
(He lowers his hand. He nods)
Cloud “After all, I promised. That if anything were to ever happen to you, I would come to help.”
Why the hand to his face?
Cloud puts to rest her doubts that he heard her with the “Yeah…at that time I heard you calling me”. Then he proceeds to say what the purpose of her calling was: “You were calling me back in from … the Lifestream.” Cloud follows this comment with a nod of affirmation. An affirmation of what? Tifa isn’t even looking at him at this point. Is he affirming to himself that this is what he truly remembers? That what he says after is the best thing to say next?
Cloud goes on to further explain why she heard his voice. Not leaving any doubts, eh Cloud? Interestingly, though, the reason does not involve anything about love or his closeness to her. It only has to do with keeping the childhood promise. Does he save this confession for later on?
(Tifa opens her eyes and looks up.)
Tifa “Cloud…? Do you think the stars can hear us?”
(She gazes off to one side)
Tifa “Do you think they see how hard we’re fighting for them?”
Tifa changes the conversation without Cloud having said anything that resembles her “As long as I’m with you” line in either structure or meaning.
(Cloud looks up at the sky.)
Cloud “I dunno… But…”
Cloud “Whether they are or not, we still have to do what we can. And believe in ourselves…”
Cloud “Someday we’ll find the answer. Right, Tifa?”
Cloud “That’s what I learned from you when I was in the Lifestream.”
Then Cloud’s quasi-philosophical response to her question – that they must believe in themselves, which is a theme often portrayed in anime and RPG’s. He follows this with the “Someday we’ll find the answer. Right, Tifa?” line. The answer to what? Tifa’s question? Perhaps… but that is apparently not what he’s referring to. He’s apparently referring to an answer within themselves, which is supported by his following line about learning that from the Lifestream. This is also clearly a more useful issue to find the answer to than whether or not the stars can see how hard they’re being fought for.
Tifa “Yeah… that’s right…”
Nothing more than a tentative affirmation of what Cloud said….
Now for the most enigmatic part of this scene:
(Cloud stares off into the distance. He turns away from her slightly and lowers his head.)
Cloud “Hey, Tifa… I… There are a lot of things I wanted to talk to you about.”
(He shakes his head slowly.)
To what is Cloud referring to with “a lot of things”? And when did he want to talk to her about these things? “Wanted” is in the past tense. It signifies that, at some point in the past and NOT in the present, he wanted to talk to Tifa about a lot of things (not just one thing). But when is he referring to?
If one considers this part of the dialogue to be a continuation of the previous part about the Lifestream Event, then Cloud would be referring to any time related to that Event. This would include his childhood, the time period from his childhood to the Reunion, or while he was comatose from overexposure to the Lifestream. It may also be referring to what actually took place within the Lifestream Event, as well as what happened afterwards, a time when there would be sudden revelations and questions about it.
1. The childhood time period is very plausible – as a child with no friends, Cloud would obviously have wanted to tell the girl he had a crush on, if ever he got to be her friend, a lot of the things he thought in general etc. It makes sense for Cloud to tell her these things now: there may still be childhood experiences he wishes to share and perhaps how he felt about her at that time.
2. Referring to the period during which he was comatose and those childhood memories would not fit unless they were in relation to the events within the Lifestream Incident. This would make sense if relating his actions to what happened in that scene. The problem with this, however, would be that all these things could fall into the next point: things he wanted to say immediately after the scene.
3. Shortly after the Lifestream Incident may be the most logical one, since it’s very likely that he’s had further thoughts about what happened during that time.
Cloud “But now that we’re together like this, I don’t know what I really wanted to say…”
Cloud “I guess nothing’s changed at all… Kind of makes you want to laugh…”
Now many Cloud x Tifa supporters take this part to be hinting at a confession of love. It doesn’t appear to fit, though: he just had the opportunity to shamelessly confess it earlier when Tifa went all mushy about being alright at his side. Plus, Cloud would surely know what he wanted to say, if that were the case, although maybe not how to say it.
If one believes that Cloud is referring to thoughts he had about her in childhood, it can make sense – he wants to tell Tifa about his childhoood and things he wanted to tell her back then. This seems unlikely, though, because these things are age old and it would appear that he has cleared what misconceptions he had then. Besides, Cloud already discussed those past feelings with her during the Lifestream Event.
Even if Cloud is referring to his past feelings for her, we saw in the Lifestream Event that his most predominant feeling from childhood regarding Tifa was his guilt over letting her fall at the bridge. Is he perhaps wanting to make a proper apology for that?
The third possibility would appear the most supported – he wants to talk to Tifa about his thoughts after the Lifestream Event. After all, it fits in with the context of the conversation they’ve been having. It makes perfect sense that he would want to talk to Tifa more about their experience in the Lifestream, and natural that he’d have further questions about it. That also agrees with the plural “things” that we see here. The “Love Confession Theory” proposes that he’s talking about his love for her, but would that not be only one thing?
(Tifa shakes her head)
Tifa “Cloud… Words aren’t the only thing that tell people what you’re thinking…”
The infamous line. Clearly, Tifa has arrived at a conclusion based on what Cloud didn’t say.. But to what is she alluding? Some people jump to say that she’s saying that Cloud has confessed his love for her without those words being spoken. This doesn’t seem to follow, though, since Cloud’s dialogue here would have confirmed that this is not the case. Cloud hasn’t taken any of the opportunities to show reciprocation of his love for her and has offered alternate reasons for things that Tifa, apparently, thought were signs of his love for her.
This is the scene where Tifa confesses her love for Cloud. It is also, apparently, the scene where Tifa tries to get a similar confession from him… yet, she doesn’t. Is this absence of a confession what she’s referring to? Is she also referring to the lack of change in Cloud’s attitude towards her after the Lifestream event, a change showing that he has returned to his childhood feelings towards her?
What is not said is at times more telling than what is said… and what is not done more significant than that which is.
(Cloud looks at her. She continues to stare past the player, into space. She straightens her hair again with one hand.)
Tifa is evidently concealing her feelings now (she was crying before, but shows no such thing now), so we don’t really know what effect anything Cloud has said, or not said, has had on her.
And Cloud uses what is apparently one of his favorite responses. Cloud has nothing to say to Tifa’s statement… but why? If indeed Tifa was referring to him not expressing feelings of romantic love to her in any form and he realizes this, then it can be seen as a silent affirmation of what she says.
If Tifa is referring to him loving her and showing it, then we have a silence that is apparently out of place – why would Cloud remain silent and motionless if she’s referring to such a love? Is there anything that can be conclusively interpreted from his silence?
(She closes her eyes. The camera pans up, past her, to the sky, as the scene fades to black.)
Then Tifa closes her eyes in…what? Closes her eyes in relief? Closes her eyes in sorrow? In despair?
In relief: This is unlikely. Tifa is open here – she confesses love for Cloud as blatantly as one can without saying “I love you”. If it were relief that he did love her, then why stop there? Why not continue in this air of openness and approach him? Or open her eyes in relief?
In sorrow: this is very plausible. Cloud has not responded to Tifa in any way to show that he still has the childhood crush that he had for her when he was younger. He has not shown her that he loves her romantically now. She has tried coercing him with subtleties and blatancies in dialogue, yet he doesn’t respond. There is much reason for someone in love with another to be sad after realizing that her feelings aren’t reciprocated.
In despair: basically the same as in sorrow but slightly deeper. ‘Tis what is very possibly the final night that they will live, yet there has been no confession from Cloud of love for her. What is she to think?
Scene 137 – Last Morning -
(The scene fades in once more to the grassy hill. It is still mostly dark out, but the hint of a sun is glowing beyond the horizon. Cloud and Tifa are seated on a small rise in the ground. Tifa is resting her head on his shoulder; both are dozing. Cloud lifts his head slightly.)
Cloud “…It’s almost dawn…”
Tifa “H, huh…?”
(He lifts his head further, just enough so that he can look at her.)
Cloud “Sorry. Did I wake you…? It’s almost dawn, Tifa.”
(She lifts her head off his shoulder and looks around sleepily.)
Tifa “Umm… G, good morning… Cloud.”
Now, isn’t it unusual that Tifa stutters? If she had spent a night in Cloud’s loving embrace, as some people speculate, then why would she be stuttering? If there was mutual love reciprocated between them the night before, it’s far more likely that she would be lovingly gazing into his eyes rather than stuttering.
Tifa “Give me a little longer… Just a little bit longer…”
(She rests her head on his shoulder again.)
Tifa “This day will never come again… So let me have this moment…”
1. They had sex.
2. They spent the night in a loving embrace. This is unlikely, however, since Cloud isn’t touching her now, and Tifa is stuttering.
3. Tifa is referring to their upcoming fight with Sephiroth. Since they may die, she isn’t in a hurry to get there.
4. She knows that she’ll never have an opportunity to be with Cloud like this again.
Cloud “Yeah… okay.”
(He lowers his head again.)
Cloud “This is probably the last time we’ll have together…”
Cloud agrees and supports her statement. Cloud/Tifa supporters see this as an indication that they love each other. Yet, Cloud’s behavior doesn’t indicate it. Wouldn’t Cloud say the same thing if they had gained a better understanding of one another during the evening, and had become closer friends in the process? And wouldn’t that interpretation fit with the title of the previous scene, which is “Understanding”?
I’ve included part of the scene from the following morning, the part that pertains to this scene and gives some insight as to what followed it. The next passage doesn’t reveal anything unusual.
(The scene fades in to show the Highwind hovering in the bright morning sky. The camera pans back down to the hill. Cloud is still sitting down; Tifa has risen and is gazing up at the Highwind, her hands behind her back. After a few moments, she drops her hands and shakes her head.)
Cloud “We’d better go.”
(She turns to him and makes a pleading gesture.)
Tifa “But, I still…!?”
(He turns to face her, shaking his head.)
Cloud “It’s all right, Tifa. You said so yourself yesterday.”
Cloud “At least we don’t have to go on alone.”
(A pause. Tifa nods)
Tifa”Yes… That’s right!”
Cloud “Okay! Let’s go!”
(They walk together toward the Highwind. It begins to lower to the ground as the scene fades. It fades back in to show the walkway to the bridge. Tifa is following Cloud.)
Scene 138 – We Shall Fight Together -
Tifa “The airship is too big for just the two of us.”
Tifa “Yeah, it’s a little lonely without everyone.”
This strikes me as an awfully strange thing for Tifa to say IF she and Cloud had actually had a romantic encounter the night before. Why would someone who has just spent a romantic night and discovered love with another the preceding night be feeling lonely with him? If anything, a person in such a situation would want to be finding time alone with their new partner.
(Cloud turns around to face her.)
Cloud “Don’t worry. It’ll be okay.”
(He does his squat-thrusts.)
Cloud “I’ll make a big enough ruckus for everyone.”
(He stops and straightens his hair.)
Cloud “Besides, I’m the pilot.”
Cloud “No more flying around casually like before.”
Cloud “We won’t have time to feel lonely.”
Now Cloud is talking about both of them feeling lonely without the others around. Again, isn’t this an awfully strange thing for two people to be saying IF they had actually discovered their love for one another the night before?
(She nods. A long pause. Suddenly, the entire Highwind shakes as the engines fire up.)
(She looks around.)
Cloud “It’s moving…”
(They dash to the bridge. They find Cait Sith dozing in one corner. They run past him and find Barret and Cid working with the pilot’s controls.)
Cloud “Barret! Cid!”
(Barret turns and looks at Cloud, then at Tifa, then back to Cloud)
Barret “O, oh… is that okay with you?”
(He looks at Cloud…then at Tifa…then back at Cloud, then asks Cloud if “that” is okay with him. This “that” is most certainly the moving Highwind (nothing else it can be).
(Red XIII runs up to them from offscreen.)
Cloud “Red XIII!”
(Cloud and Tifa look back to Barret.)
Tifa “Why didn’t you tell me!?”
Tell her what? That they decided to return and continue their quest, it would appear.
(Red XIII looks at Cid, who still is operating the controls.)
Red XIII “But, you know, Cid.”
(He looks at Cloud. Cid leaves the controls and stares at Red XIII.)
Cid “Hey, Red XIII.”
Cid “If you butt in now, you never know what they’ll say later…”
Tifa “…Were you watching?”
(They watch her as she runs away, clutches her head and falls to the floor in embarrassment. Vincent enters the bridge. All except Tifa turn to see him enter.)
Now this part is odd. Watching what? Butt into what? Why be so enigmatic?
This is apparently the part that has some people thinking that Cloud and Tifa had sex…but why, exactly? The vagueness of their dialogue is one fairly good reason to think that that’s the reason…but why is the dialogue vague? Society tends to make multiple synonyms for things or terms that it feels uncomfortable or embarrassed about. We also refer to embarrassing things solely with pronouns to remove their embarrassment level. It would appear that this is what is happening here – Cid is trying to reduce the embarrassment of this scene by only hinting to it…but what is he hinting to?
Let’s consider why she may be embarrassed:
1. Sex – The most popularly believed reason. I don’t think that this is it because it just doesn’t seem to fit. Tifa is visibly quite embarrassed, while Cloud does nothing. Also, judging from the dialogue before the night ended this doesn’t appear a likely ending to the scenario.
2. Tears – Tifa, realizing that Cloud doesn’t love her as she does him, breaks down in tears. Cloud comforts her.
These are the most likely reasons for her embarrassment. Why would she be embarrassed if there was mutual love displayed between them the night before? If that were the case, then Cloud would be supportive… but he is not. If that were the case, there would be no reason for embarrassment.
Absolutely nothing conclusive has been shown in these scenes. Any conclusions made by the player are made totally by inference. Cloud has made no commitment to Tifa. His response of “………” to Tifa’s statement of “Words aren’t the only thing that tell people what you’re thinking” is open to the interpretation of the player. There are several reasons why Tifa could be embarrassed the next morning, including embarrassment over being upset when Cloud turns her down.
It must also be remembered that other versions of this scene exist, since the outcome of this scene is governed by Tifa’s affection rating with Cloud. Regardless of how it is played, these scenes show absolutely no conclusive evidence of Cloud’s affection for Tifa.