Numerous works of fan fiction and fan art for Final Fantasy VII Remake pair Cloud romantically with either Tifa Lockhart or Aerith Gainsborough. While they are treated by the game and fandom as potential love interests for Cloud, there are plenty of reasons why Cloud should not be with either of these leading ladies.
Aside from being embroiled in a dangerous mission to save the world, Cloud has plenty of things that he needs to work through before he can consider getting romantically involved with anyone.
Cloud and Tifa have known each other since childhood, growing up as neighbors in Nibelheim. The two are childhood friends, and Cloud has had a crush on Tifa since they were young, but this does not mean that Cloud is a good match for Tifa.
Following a childhood accident at Mt. Nibel that left Tifa gravely injured and Cloud unharmed, the townspeople of Nibelheim ostracized Cloud, and Tifa’s father forbid him from seeing Tifa again. The incident leaves Cloud angry and bitter, and he blames himself for being unable to save Tifa from harm.
He takes out his anger by getting into numerous fights, and he starts to see him as separate and better than the others. His desire to save and protect those he loves fuels his desire to become a hero like the SOLDIER first-class, Sephiroth. Cloud invites Tifa to the water tower to tell her his plan, hoping to impress her, promising to protect her, and the following spring he leaves for Midgar.
Several years have passed between the night on the water tower and Cloud joining Avalanche as a mercenary. A lot has changed in that time. Cloud has changed. He has trained as a Shinra infantryman, and after the Nibelheim incident, he is no longer the young boy Tifa knew growing up.
Cloud runs into Aerith, the flower peddler, following the bombing mission on Mako Reactor One in Midgar. She is acting strangely, and when she turns and locks eyes with him, Cloud is struck by a vision of Sephiroth, the ex-SOLDIER first-class. He stumbles in confusion, and the flower peddler leans in to ask if Cloud is alright, snapping him out of his vision. She gives Cloud a yellow flower, on the house, and tells him that lovers used to give these flowers when they were reunited. Cloud tells her that he is involved in dangerous things and warns her to stay away.
Aerith insists on joining Cloud on his journey to Sector Seven after she hires him as a bodyguard ,and he protects her from two Turks, the elite intelligence operations division of Shinra. He escorts her home, but Aerith’s mother demands he leaves when Aerith is out of the room. Cloud attempts to escape, but Aerith catches up to him and follows him. They reach a park just outside the gates of Sector Seven, and Aerith makes them stop for a break.
She gets close to Cloud and tells him that she used to sell flowers here a long time ago. She also tells Cloud that he reminds her of her first love, who was also in SOLDIER. Cloud says that he might know him, but when Aerith says his name, Cloud’s ears ring and he begins to have another hallucination. Aerith snaps him out of it, getting up close and personal and staring into his eyes, which are glowing from his exposure to mako energy. They are the same eyes as her first love. The connection and attraction between Cloud and Aerith is palpable, and Aerith is far from subtle in her flirtation.
But Cloud was right to warn Aerith to stay away. As a mercenary and ex-SOLDIER, Cloud is a dangerous man, and not only in the traditional sense. He is a reflection of the man Aerith is in love with. Both Tifa and Aerith bring out Cloud’s better qualities, but before Cloud can consider a romantic connection, he needs to focus on dealing with his demons.
The trauma he experienced from his time with Shinra and from the Nibelheim incident are things Cloud needs to face. He can use a friend to help him work through these, but a romantic relationship wouldn’t be beneficial to anyone involved. The hallucinations he experiences make him dangerous, and he has almost attacked both Aerith and Tifa before snapping out of his visions. His exposure to vast amounts of mako energy have transformed him and, combined with the training he received, has turned him into a living weapon.
Whether you are Team Aerith or Team Tifa, something we should all agree on is that Cloud should not be with either. He is no longer the boy from Nibelheim who had a crush on Tifa Lockhart growing up, and to Aerith, he is little more than a reflection of the ghost of her first love.
Both Tifa and Aerith are treated as love interests for Cloud, but he is not a good match for either. Here's why.