Why Cloti Is Not Canon
by Anastar

For approximately the past year, CloudxTifa fans have been claiming that Cloti is canon in articles as well as in debates. In truth, this is only the opinion of
Cloti fans. SE has not stated a definite conclusion to the Love Triangle in any Ultimania or other official source, nor has SE portrayed a definite conclusion
to the Love Triangle in any game, movie, or novella.

The main pieces of evidence being used by CloudxTifa fans are:

1) A page in the 20th Anniversary Ultimania called the "For The One I Love" page. This is often abbreviated as the FTOIL page. This page was used as the
basis for an article at the Lifestream.net where it is stated that the Love Triangle debate is over. Here is a link to that article:

http://thelifestream.net/ffvii-advent-children-complete/6139/this-just-in-the-love-triangle-debate-over/

2) Eight different statements made in different Ultmania's including the FFVII Ultimania Omega, the FFVII 10th Anniversary Ultimania, the Crisis Core
Ultimania, and the 20th Anniversary Ultimania. These statements are frequently used in debates to "prove" that Cloti is canon.

This article will completely review all of this evidence to show why none of it actually proves that Square Enix has declared CloudxTifa to be the canon
couple of Final Fantasy VII.

The "For The One I Love" Page

There was an article published at The Lifestream.net over a year ago declaring that Cloti is canon. Here is the link to that article:

http://thelifestream.net/ffvii-advent-children-complete/6139/this-just-in-the-love-triangle-debate-over/

In actuality, this article does not prove that Cloti is canon. Let me explain fully:

What is true in the article

Square Enix did in fact publish an article in the 20th Anniversary Ultimania about romantic couples in the different Final Fantasy games. It is also true that
there is a picture of the Highwind scene in that Ultimania article about romantic couples. It is also true that there is a picture of the CloudxAerith date scene
in that Ultimania article about romantic couples. Here is a scan of that page from the 20th Anniversary Ultimania:

http://i242.photobucket.com/albums/ff97/Alexa024/20thAU-FTOIL.jpg

The caption under the HW scene picture says that Cloud and Tifa confirm that their feelings match without using words. That is true.

The caption under the Clerith date picture says that which character shows up for the date is under player control. That is true.

What is False in the Lifestream.net Article

The article at the Lifestream.net states that the "For the One I Love" page confirms that Cloud and Tifa love one another. That much is false.

In reality, the "For the One I Love" page says only that Cloud and Tifa confirm their love for one another in the High Affection version of the Highwind
scene.

The article at the Lifestream.net neglects to mention that the Final Fantasy 20th Anniversary Ultimania also specifies that there are two versions of the
Highwind scene, and that which version a player gets is determined by Tifa's affection level with Cloud. Tifa's affection level with Cloud is governed by
the Date Mechanism, which is under player control.

Information Omitted from the Lifestream.net Article

If you look at the picture of the Highwind Scene on the "For the One I Love" page, there is a page number at the top of the picture to be used as
reference. You can see that page number with a red box around it in the close up here:





















See the page number 232 there? If you turn to page 232, it says this:

Deviation
Two versions of the conversation before the final battle
Prior to the final battle, the contents of the conversation between Cloud and Tifa can change depending on the degree of Tifa's affection.
If the
degree of affection is high, the contents of the two's conversation will involve deep subject matter and strong feelings for each other. As well, the sight of
the two seen by their companions the next morning will lead to an embarrassing scene for Tifa, and she blushes greatly."
~page 232, Final Fantasy 20th
Anniversary Ultimania

The Lifestream.net omitted this information on page 232 from their article, even though page 232 is actually cited as a reference for the Highwind scene
on the "For the One I Love" page.

The paragraph on page 232 of the 20th Anniversary Ultimania clearly says that there are TWO VERSIONS of the Highwind scene, and that the
conversation between Cloud and Tifa will change depending to the degree of Tifa's affection with Cloud. In other words, there is more than one way for
Cloud and Tifa to feel about one another during the Highwind scene.

That same paragraph on page 232 then goes on to say that Cloud and Tifa will have strong feelings for each other only
IF the degree of affection is high.
In other words, there is more than one way for Cloud and Tifa to feel for one another during the Highwind scene.

That information was omitted from the article published at the Lifestream.net.

Since there is more than one way for Cloud and Tifa to feel about one another during the Highwind scene, then there is more than one way for Cloud and
Tifa to feel about one another at the end of the FFVII. That clearly means that the High Affection version of the Highwind is not canon.

Instead, the version that a player gets depends on the degree of Tifa's affection for Cloud. Cloud and Tifa do NOT have to share strong feelings.

None of that was stated in the TLS article.

In fact, there are three different places in the Ultimania's and official sources where Square Enix clearly states that there are two versions of the Highwind
scene, and that Tifa's feelings depend on the degree of her affection with Cloud.

1)
Deviation
Two versions of the conversation before the final battle
Prior to the final battle, the contents of the conversation between Cloud and Tifa can change depending on the degree of Tifa's affection.
If the
degree of affection is high, the contents of the two's conversation will involve deep subject matter and strong feelings for each other. As well, the sight of
the two seen by their companions the next morning will lead to an embarrassing scene for Tifa, and she blushes greatly."
~page 232, Final Fantasy 20th
Anniversary Ultimania

2) Changeable event 3 (before the final battle)
Another event is when the party was dismissed and after everyone left for their own places separately, Cloud and Tifa spent the night together.
At that moment, according to Tifa's affection rating with Cloud, the event of "dialogues exchanged between them from dusk to dawn" and "Tifa's reaction
and lines when she found out that everyone might see (or hear) that circumstance" will be different.
~FFVII Dismantled, page 201

3)
After stopping Hojo from going amuck, the conversation with Tifa before they rush into the Northern Crater diverges into two conditions, according to
Tifa's affection rating with Cloud. When it gets low, the conversation in the scene that they spend the night will be apathetic and ends short. Next morning
in the cockpit, Tifa says "Were you listening?" and stamps on tiptoe. On the other hand, when degree gets higher, the conversation of the scene that they
spend the night will have strong emotions. Next morning in the cockpit, Tifa will say "Were you watching?" and feels terribly shy.
~page 198, Final
Fantasy VII Ultimania Omega

None of that information was provided in the article at the Lifestream.net where Cloti was said to be canon.

What those three passages mean is that there are two different ways for Cloud and Tifa to feel about one another during the Highwind scene as well as at
the end of Final Fantasy VII. How Cloud and Tifa feel for one another depends on Tifa's affection level with Cloud, and that is determined by player
choice.

At no time does Square Enix say that one version of the Highwind scene is canon. At no time does Square Enix say that there is only one way for Cloud
and Tifa to feel about one another during the Highwind scene or at the end of the game. At no time is any definite form of relationship portrayed between
Cloud and Tifa after the Highwind scene in the game(s), movie(s), or novella(s).

None of that was stated in the TLS article even though it has a major affect on the meaning of the article.

Major Contradiction

Now, here is what the TLS article says about the Clerith date picture:

Nothing so amazing, no, all it tells us is that the date itself is up to player control, so no one version is "official"

Page 232 of the Final Fantasy 20th Anniversary Ultimania clearly says that the Highwind scene has two optional versions, which means that the Highwind
scene is also under player control, just like the Date scene.

If TLS says that no one version of the Date Scene is official (canon) because the scene is under player control, then why does TLS say that the High
Affection Highwind scene has an official version (canon) when it's also under player control?

What the page from the 20th Anniversary Ultimania really says

There are two FFVII pictures on the page about romantic couples in the 20th Anniversary Ultimania - a picture of the CloudxAerith date scene and a
picture of the Highwind scene.

Both the CloudxAerith date scene and the Highwind scene are pictured in the section of the "For the One I Love" page for Romantic Couples. There is a
separate section for Platonic Relationships.

Both the CloudxAerith date scene and the Highwind scene have a page number referenced where the Ultimania explains that both scenes have optional
versions.

Final Fantasy VII is the only game with a picture of the main hero with two different women. Both Aerith and Tifa have been designated as heroines of
Final Fantasy VII.

Kitase: When I first read Nojima’s scenario, I felt strongly that his image of a heroine was fresh. The hero didn't have a typical personality, single-minded
or righteous, and Aerith lived in the slums. Those things were really fresh.
And having two heroines, Aerith and Tifa, and having the hero waver
between them, at the time that was something new.
~Interview with the creators, pg. 8-13, 10th Anniversary Ultimania

There is literally no reason for the Clerith Date Scene to be on the "For the One I Love" page if Cloti is being declared canon on that page. There is literally
no reason for the Clerith Date Scene to be on the "For the One I Love" page unless CloudxAerith is also being pictured as a romantic pairing in Final
Fantasy VII.

CloudxTifa fans have argued that the Clerith date picture is on the page because the page is showing all romantic confessions in the games, but that's not
what the caption of the page says. The title and caption of the page say:

For the one I love
Through the long journeys,
the love of the protagonists develop. Occasionally they become separated, but the two’s value to one another gives them the
great strength to overcome whatever crisis may come.

The "For the One I Love" page is about love between the protagonists of each game. Both Aerith and Tifa are protagonists (heroines) of Final Fantasy VII.
Both Aerith and Tifa are pictured with Cloud in Final Fantasy VII scenes which have optional versions. Both pictures on the "For the One I Love" page are
labeled with reference page numbers where it is designated that there are optional versions for each scene.

It is clear that the "For the One I Love" page is really saying that Cloud is able to love either Aerith or Tifa, or both of them, in Final Fantasy VII. Who
Cloud loves actually depends on Aerith and Tifa's affection level with Cloud. There is no "canon" result.

Therefore, neither couple is being declared canon. Instead, the page of the 20th Anniversary Ultimania is saying that who Cloud loves is up to player
control.

So what the TLS article said about the LTD being over is completely false. It's only the opinion of TLS that the LTD is over. SE has never stated that the
LTD is over, nor has SE ever stated that either couple is canon.

Other Evidence Used As "Proof" That Cloti Is Canon

Eight different statements have been made in different Ultmania's including the FFVII Ultimania Omega, the FFVII 10th Anniversary Ultimania, the Crisis
Core Ultimania, and the 20th Anniversary Ultimania. These statements are frequently used in Love Triangle debates by CloudxTifa fans to "prove" that
Cloti is canon.

Each of those statements will be examined in this section to show that none of these statements actually provide any conclusive evidence about the
Cloud/Tifa relationship. Let's start with quotes from the FFVII Ultimania Omega.

1)
Quotes from the FFVII Ultimania Omega
There are four quotes from the FFVII Ultimania Omega written by Square Enix which are used by CloudxTifa fans to "prove" that Cloti is canon. Three of
those quotes are automatically disqualified as evidence when you realize that the FFVII Ultimania Omega specifically says that there are two possible
versions of the Highwind scene, and that which version a player gets is determined by Tifa's affection level with Cloud:

After stopping Hojo from going amuck, the conversation with Tifa before they rush into the Northern Crater diverges into two conditions,
according to Tifa's affection rating with Cloud
. When it gets low, the conversation in the scene that they spend the night will be apathetic and ends
short. Next morning in the cockpit, Tifa says "Were you listening?" and stamps on tiptoe. On the other hand, when degree gets higher, the conversation of
the scene that they spend the night will have strong emotions. Next morning in the cockpit, Tifa will say "Were you watching?" and feels terribly shy.
~page 198, Final Fantasy VII Ultimania Omega

Notice that this passage in the FFVII Ultimania Omega specifically says that the Highwind scene diverges into two conditions according to Tifa's affection
rating with Cloud. The passage does not designate either the High Affection or the Low Affection version as canon, so both versions are possible.

Since both the High Affection and Low Affection versions are possible, then the following three quotes cannot be referring to Cloud and Tifa's feelings in
the High Affection version only:

"Declares that the team should dissolve in the final hours before the final battle, and communicates his feelings together with Tifa, who remains behind at
the airship with him."
~FFVII Ultimania Omega, pg. 15, Cloud's profile

"When Cloud proposes that the group separates temporarily, she remains behind at the airship and communicates her feelings together with Cloud. "
~
FFVII Ultimania Omega, pg. 27, Tifa's profile

"When their companions disperse to the places where people important to them await, Cloud and Tifa are the only two to remain behind. They reveal their
mutual feelings in their final hours, and......."
~FFVII Ultimania Omega, pg. 198, story summary

None of these three quotes specify
what kind of feelings Cloud and Tifa communicate during the scene. Since Cloud and Tifa communicate feelings in
both the Low Affection and High Affection versions of the Highwind scene, then "communicate feelings" may be referring to either or both the High
Affection and Low Affection versions of the scene.

There is a fourth quote often used by CloudxTifa fans which also comes from the FFVII Ultimania Omega. Thing is, this fourth quote specifically refers
to what happens during the High Affection version only, and designates that it happens only during the High Affection version:

"If Tifa's affection regarding Cloud is high, when the two stay behind at the airship, they will confirm that their feelings of desire/wanting for one another
match."
~FFVII Ultimania Omega, pg. 27, Tifa's profile

Frankly, I do not know why this quote is even used as evidence, since it specifically says that Cloud and Tifa only confirm feelings of desire/wanting
when Tifa's affection level with Cloud is high. It says nothing about the high affection level being canon, or about the High Affection version being the
only possible outcome.

2)
Three Quotes About the Highwind Scene Use the Phrase "想いを通わせる". This Phrase Supposedly Indicates Romance.
There are three other quotes used by CloudxTifa fans in LT debates to "prove" that CloudxTifa is canon.

In the Japanese, these three quotes use the Japanese phrase "
想いを通わせる". In LT debates, many CloudxTifa fans claim that the only possible thing
this phrase can mean in Japanese is that romance exists between the two people mentioned. Here are the three quotes they are referring to:

"She communicates her feelings together with Cloud in the final stages of the story, and in AC and DC they live together." ~Crisis Core Ultimania, pg. 33,
Tifa's profile

"Declares that the team should dissolve in the final hours before the final battle, and communicates his feelings together with Tifa, who remains behind at
the airship with him.
" ~FFVII Ultimania Omega, pg. 15, Cloud's profile

"When Cloud proposes that the group separates temporarily, she remains behind at the airship and communicates her feelings together with Cloud. "
~
FFVII Ultimania Omega, pg. 27, Tifa's profile

First of all, two of those quotes are from the FFVII Ultimania Omega. As explained above, the FFVII Ultimania Omega makes it clear on page 198 that
which version of the Highwind scene a player gets is dependent on Tifa's affection level with Cloud. If the FFVII Ultimania Omega explicitly says that
which version of the Highwind scene a player gets is determined by Tifa's affection level with Cloud (which means the scene is under player control), then
the FFVII Ultimania Omega is not saying that one version of the scene is canon.

However, the first quote comes from the a different book - the Crisis Core Ultimania. So let's look a little more closely at the phrase "
想いを通わせる"
to see whether the only possible meaning is that romance exists between the two people mentioned.

Two experts in the Japanese language have definitely stated that the phrase "
想いを通わせる" can be used to describe relationships other than romance,
and that the meaning of the phrase "
想いを通わせる" actually depends on the context of the story. You can see those statements at the following links:

1)
http://www.japanforum.com/forum/japanese-language-help/41533-phrase-%E6%83%B3%E3%81%84%E3%82%92%E9%80%9A%E3%82%8F%E3%
81%9B%E3%82%8B.html

「想いを通わせる」, all by itself without context, is very difficult to translate as it covers a wide range of meanings including the three types of
"feelings" [friendship/closeness/something besides romance] mentioned by you. The phrase can be used when there is a high level of communication and
understanding between any two (groups of ) people.

It can be between a teacher and his/her class, between two friends, between parents and their kids, etc. The point of the word
「通う」 is that
something exists "two-way" instead of "one-way". If two persons speak to each other all day everyday without ever understanding or respecting each
other, this word cannot be used to describe the state of their relationship.

This person specifically says that the phrase 「想いを通わせる」 can be used to describe relationships other than romance.

2)
Another Japanese language expert says this about the phrase "「想いを通わせる」":

http://www.allexperts.com/user.cgi?m=6&catID=1797&expID=116720&qID=5004875

Question: So would you rely on this sentence *alone* to PROVE that the two are romantically involved, or would you need further evidence from the
story to conclude that?

Answer: I would rely on context to show that.

This person specifically says that the meaning of the phrase "「想いを通わせる」" depends on the context of the story. Please note that the same
expert had answered another question about the same phrase at this link:

http://www.allexperts.com/user.cgi?m=6&catID=1797&qID=5001685

In his answer HERE, the expert had said that the phrase "「想いを通わせる」" does have a romantic implication. I asked for the clarification HERE
because the expert said in his first answer that he was unaware of the context. When he was unaware of the context, his translation was
NOT romantic in
nature. From this, it became obvious that context has a great deal to do with the actual translation of the phrase.

In his clarification
HERE, the expert agreed that the context of the story was necessary before deciding whether or not the phrase should be translated
romantically.

3)
Pictures Used In the Story Summaries "Prove" That Cloti Is Canon.
Two other quotes from the Ultimania's are used in LT debates by CloudxTifa fans to "prove" that CloudxTifa is canon. According to CloudxTifa fans,
these two quotes supposedly "prove" that Cloti is canon because there is a picture of the High Affection Highwind scene found next to these two quotes in
the story summaries:

"Cloud and Tifa, who remain, reveal their feelings for each other and confirm them to match." ~FFVII 10th Anniversary Ultimania, pg. 118; pg. 120 in
the Revised Edition; story summary

"And when Cloud and Tifa remain behind alone, in their final hours, they disclose that their feelings for each other match." ~FF 20th Anniversary
Ultimania
File 2: Scenario, pg. 232; main body of FFVII's story summary

A scan of the first quote can be seen here:

http://i242.photobucket.com/albums/ff97/Alexa024/10thAUstorysummarypage-1.png

CloudxTifa fans claim that these two sentences, both of which appear in story summaries, MUST be talking about the High Affection version of the
Highwind scene because a picture of the High Affection version of the Highwind scene appears next to each of these sentences. CloudxTifa fans claim this
can only mean that the High Affection version of the Highwind scene is canon, and therefore that CloudxTifa is canon.

Well, there are several problems with this claim.

In the first place, CloudxTifa fans use the exact same logic to disprove CloudxAerith. There is a picture of the Clerith date scene on the "For the One I
Love" page next to the paragraph about the Secret Date. Yet, Cloti's say that the Clerith date scene picture doesn't prove anything on the "For the One I
Love" page. Here is a scan of the page:

http://i242.photobucket.com/albums/ff97/Alexa024/20thAU-FTOIL.jpg

CloudxTifa fans say that the Highwind scene picture means that Cloud and Tifa are in love, but CloudxTifa fans also say that the Clerith date scene picture
doesn't prove anything about Cloud and Aerith being in love.

Why do the pictures of the High Affection version of the Highwind scene in story summaries prove that the High Affection version is canon if the
CloudxAerith date picture is meaningless on the "For the One I Love" page?

What else could the Clerith date scene picture on the "For the One I Love" page mean when all other couples shown on the page are romantic couples?

If CloudxTifa fans claim that the Clerith date picture on the "For the One I Love" page is meaningless, then the High Affection Highwind scene picture is
also meaningless.

Another thing makes me question whether a picture of the High Affection Highwind scene next to a statement in the story summaries means that the High
Affection version is canon. Is it more likely that stock photos of the Highwind scene were used in the story summaries, or that particular photos of the
scene were chosen by Nomura, Nojima, and Kitase to represent which version is canon? Is it more likely that graphic artists randomly chose photos of the
Highwind scene from a stock file when laying out the page, or that Nojima, Nomura, and Kitase were there insisting that certain photos of the Highwind
scene be used so that fans would know which version is canon?

Why would SE use a photo next to a single sentence in a story summary to let fans know which version of a scene is canon, especially when there are
other photos on the same page along with many other lines of text? Here is a scan of the page:

http://i242.photobucket.com/albums/ff97/Alexa024/10thAUstorysummarypage-1.png

Is this a likely way for SE to solve the question of who Cloud loves in Final Fantasy VII?

SE Has Also Stated That The Love Triangle Is Up To Player Interpretation

In actual fact, Square Enix has stated a number of times that they have left the question of who Cloud loves up to interpretation. For example, Nomura
said this in an interview with Dorimaga magazine in November, 2005 (after the release of Advent Children):

A Final Fantasy VII fan interviewed Tetsuya Nomura for Dorimaga magazine and asked "How many girls has Sephiroth ever loved?". In reaction, Nomura
spoke evasively in anticipation of more questions regarding Cloud and Tifa's love life, which have nothing to do with Sephiroth.

Tetsuya Nomura: What kind of question is that? I've never thought about it. Honestly, I don't care who loves whom. I think you could imagine the
scenarios that we don't mention however you want to. You could enjoy talking about that with friends. For example, I was frequently asked if there had
been romantic relationship between Tifa and Cloud for two years, after FF7 ended, but I don't have any clue.
~Dorimaga magazine; interview with
Nomura; November, 2005
English version:
http://flaregamer.com/b2article.php?p=109&more=1
Japanese version: http://ff7-material.jugem.jp/?eid=2086

In the AC Prologue book, Nomura also talked about leaving things up to the interpretation of the player:

Nomura : "AC is a piece of work made by Japanese people. In Hollywood movies, I think there is a tendency where the meaning of all the scenes have to
be expressed clearly but, this isn't something like that. With our work, the viewer is free to decide how they interpret or enjoy it. The staff has their own
answers to all the scenes in the movie such as the angel statue that makes an appearance many times. But, even if someone who has watched it interprets
it differently, then that is just another answer. I guess "comparing answers" with friends is one of the ways you can enjoy the movie. I think AC is a
movie that makes those who have watched it, want to talk about it with others."
~FFVII AC Prologue Book

Nomura also talked about leaving room for everyone's line of thought in the Kingdom Hearts Ultimania Guide:

Question: Okay then, so the person who Cloud is searching for is Aeris, right?
Nomura: Well, what do you think? If indeed it was Aeris, then the bit in the ending was the answer. You might say it was made so that you can take it that
way. Cloud is a popular character, and I don't really want to decide myself, yes he is like this. Because players make strong conclusions by themselves, I
want to leave room for everyone's line of thought.
~Kingdom Hearts Ultimania Guide, Translations by Thorfinn Tait

The following quote from Nomura has also been stated on a number of forums and websites:

"I'd say, [who Cloud likes] is all how you perceive the game. Cloud, as you know, is a very popular character, so I don't want to confirm the answer
either way. Since the players have affection towards him, I want to leave it up to the players to decide who Cloud likes."
-2002 interview with Tetsuya
Nomura

In all of these quotes, Nomura makes it clear that he would rather leave the question of who Cloud loves up to the interpretation of the player.

Summary
1) Square Enix has clearly specified that there are two versions of the Highwind scene, and that which version a player gets is determined by
Tifa's affection level with Cloud.
This means that there are two possible ways for Cloud and Tifa to feel about one another during and after the
Highwind scene. This was stated clearly in three different official sources:

Changeable event 3 (before the final battle)
Another event is when the party was dismissed and after everyone left for their own places separately, Cloud and Tifa spent the night together.
At that moment, according to Tifa's affection rating with Cloud, the event of "dialogues exchanged between them from dusk to dawn" and "Tifa's reaction
and lines when she found out that everyone might see (or hear) that circumstance" will be different.
~FFVII Dismantled, page 201

After stopping Hojo from going amuck, the conversation with Tifa before they rush into the Northern Crater diverges into two conditions, according to
Tifa's affection rating with Cloud. When it gets low, the conversation in the scene that they spend the night will be apathetic and ends short. Next morning
in the cockpit, Tifa says "Were you listening?" and stamps on tiptoe. On the other hand, when degree gets higher, the conversation of the scene that they
spend the night will have strong emotions. Next morning in the cockpit, Tifa will say "Were you watching?" and feels terribly shy.
~page 198, Final
Fantasy VII Ultimania Omega

Deviation - Two versions of the conversation before the final battle
Prior to the final battle, the contents of the conversation between Cloud and Tifa can change depending on the degree of Tifa's affection. If the degree of
affection is high, the contents of the two's conversation will involve deep subject matter and strong feelings for each other. As well, the sight of the two
seen by their companions the next morning will lead to an embarrassing scene for Tifa, and she blushes greatly.
~page 232, Final Fantasy 20th
Anniversary Ultimania

In these three passages, Square Enix clearly states that there is a version of the Highwind scene where Tifa's affection level with Cloud is high, and a
version of the Highwind scene where Tifa's affection level with Cloud is low.

From this, it is easy to see that Cloud and Tifa get romantically involved
ONLY when the degree of affection between them is high. Cloud and Tifa do
NOT get romantically involved with each other when the degree of affection between them is low.

2)
Square Enix has never stated that either the High Affection or the Low Affection version of the Highwind scene is canon. Square Enix has
stated that the Clerith date scene is default, but Square Enix has never said that the High Affection Highwind scene is canon.

3)
Square Enix has never conclusively portrayed Cloud and Tifa as being in a romantic relationship in any of their games/movies/novellas after
the Highwind scene.
Although it is possible to interpret their relationship as being romantic, it has never been conclusively portrayed that way after the
Highwind scene.

We never hear Cloud and Tifa say, "I love you" to one another. We never see Cloud and Tifa kissing. We never see Cloud and Tifa embracing. Cloud and
Tifa never get married. There's never been any conclusive evidence which confirms that Cloud and Tifa are romantically involved after the Highwind
event.
Case of Tifa even leaves it up to interpretation as to whether or not Cloud has his own bedroom, and a single bed is seen in Cloud's room during
AC/ACC. CloudxTifa romance is left completely up to speculation.

I've heard CloudxTifa fans say that it's not in Cloud and Tifa's nature to be demonstrative in front of other people. Well, SE was able to get Squall and
Rinoa alone in order for them to kiss at the end of FFVIII. SE got Tidus and Yuna alone for them to make out in the Macalania Spring. Why can't SE get
Cloud and Tifa alone if SE wants to show that they're romantically involved?

An optional scene is not enough to prove that a couple is canon, especially when SE has never officially stated or shown conclusive evidence in the game
(s)/movie(s)/novella(s) that either version of the scene is canon.

There is simply no definite evidence that Cloud and Tifa are romantically involved. It's totally left up to speculation.