The first gray hair frightens her though she does her best to hide it.
The crows feet are hardly welcome and the sagging that followed even less so.
Her bones creak and there's an extra twenty pounds round her middle and rear that sticks to her like fate.
Tifa Lockhart is old.
The reflection that stares back at her from the mirror shows her completely white hair, her wrinkles, her lost time. Her eyes are still as clear and as brown as ever though and they gleam when she spies her other half.
Nearly sixty years of a shared life.
Claire's pink hair is nothing more than memory now. Her lithe figure bent, the curves that Tifa used to trace vanished like a mirage in the desert.
Tifa remembers a conversation in a hammock under the stars between two much younger women. Remembers the laughter that spilled from her lips as Claire, or Lightning as she insisted on being called back then, tickled her. The cool breath tickling her right ear as Claire whispered in her ear.
Grow old with me...
The wedding, the children, the grandchildren, the great-grandchild.
Fights, reconciliation, dinner parties.
Claire hugs her then and Tifa can almost feel the embrace before ice-cold truth is splashed in her face.
The empty bed.
The cold wedding band she still wears even though her wife has been gone for a month.
Staring at the ceiling, Tifa feels her heart slow as she closes her eyes.
Why did she think Claire was gone?
There she was, standing before her as vibrant and as youthful as ever.
She reaches out a hand towards her, a small smile on her face.
Tifa Lockhart's wife never was one for overly emotional displays.
Tifa takes the outstretched hand.
No more wrinkles, no more aches, no more loneliness.
Only that whisper in her ear as she feels the light kiss along her neck, that spot that only Claire knew about.
"Grow young with me Tifa."
She turns and gives Claire a nod followed by a tight hug.
No more letting go.