Author: Qwi-Xux PM
A glimpse of Tifa's life four years after AC. Definite Cloti. COMPLETERated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Family - Tifa L. & Cloud S. - Chapters: 5 - Words: 9,491 - Reviews: 71 - Favs: 116 - Follows: 16 - Updated: 05-24-08 - Published: 04-03-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4174569
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: I'm sure there a million little fics like this, but it was in my head and I had to write it. Though admittedly, this is not at all what I intended to write. The beginning was, but then it went in a direction that I did not want it to go, much to my exasperation. Darn characters for taking control of the story. ;)
This is really my first attempt at writing Cloud/Tifa--and romantic Cloud/Tifa at that.
Disclaimer: Do you even have to question whether I own Final Fantasy?
I heard Cloud come home, just like I always did, even though he tried to be so quiet. He knows I'm a light sleeper--because let's face it: when you're a martial artist and you've been through everything I have, your mind is trained to wake at the tiniest noises. It could be what saves your life.
I remained in my bed, curled onto my side, and barely heard the faint click of the door downstairs closing. The jingle of keys came next, and then footsteps across the bar. They grew louder as they reached the stairs and ascended them, until they stopped right outside my door.
I knew he was looking at me, reassuring himself of my presence as I reassured myself that he was home. Even though he had come home without fail for the last four years, I needed to know he was safe, that he had made it back without incident.
After a long pause, the footsteps moved closer, followed by the creak of leather from his clothes as he crouched down beside the bed. Without opening my eyes, I opened my arms, and smiled when he pressed his forehead against my stomach, wrapping one arm around my waist. I folded my arms around his shoulders, burying one hand in his hair and breathing a sigh of contentment. He smelled like fresh air and grass and dirt from riding around on his bike all day.
Cloud gave a sigh of his own, and I knew just from the kind of sigh it was, and from the tension in his shoulders, that he had not had a very good day. I tightened my hold on him and ran my fingers slowly through his hair. Bit by bit, his muscles eased, and he turned his head so his ear was resting on my stomach. I finally cracked my eyes open and found him looking at me, tired and a little pale. I frowned slightly at him, searching his face for a hint of what might have happened on his daily deliveries. Maybe he had met a monster on the road, or had a bad experience with a customer.
He reached up and brushed his hand over my face, silently telling me not to frown, that he was all right. Leaving his fingers resting on my cheek, he sighed again and closed his eyes. "Tifa?"
"I'm going to limit the delivery service for a while. Only take jobs around Edge."
I blinked at him, sure that I knew why he had made this decision, and not terribly surprised by it. "Cloud…I can take care of myself."
"I know." His eyes opened again, pinning me with their intensity. "But--" His arm wrapped more tightly around me. His next words were interrupted when he abruptly jerked his face away from my stomach, staring at it in fascination. "What--?"
A grin slipped over my face at his startled expression. "You felt that?"
Wonderingly, he splayed his hand across the side of my belly. A moment later, he felt it as the little life growing inside me bounced against his palm. A life so very, very small that he had not yet been able to feel it move, though I had been experiencing it for several weeks, growing stronger with each passing day. "Tifa…"
I let my hand trail out of his hair and down his cheek. "Cloud?"
"Maybe I should just quit the delivery service altogether for a while."
I laughed. "You love the delivery service." I knew him so well, knew that even though he loved our family, he still needed time alone. Time to race Fenrir down dusty roads. Time to just be.
He spoke words that would have once been difficult for him to say, but which came out now without any hesitation. "Not as much as I love you. I want you to be safe." His hand tensed on my stomach. "Both of you."
"I know." He was worried because I was showing now, worried that my fighting skills would be slowed more as the baby grew, that my reactions would get slower. I wasn't sure whether this would be the case or not; so far, my reactions were just fine.
Cloud didn't look reassured; on the contrary, his worried eyes met mine, and I could read his thoughts there.
"Don't worry," I whispered. "We're all right."
His eyes searched mine for a moment, and I knew that my words were useless. He would always worry. Years of sharing a home with him had long taught me that. "I'm still going to stay around Edge for now."
I nodded once and moved my hand behind his head, pulling him close enough that I could kiss him. He returned it, slowly at first, like he usually did, as though even after a year and a half of marriage, he wasn't quite sure he was allowed to be this happy, and then more deeply and vigorously, drawing me into his arms and running his hands down my arms. When we finally pulled apart, I was sitting in his lap, burying my face in the crook of his neck. "Love you," I whispered, and then promptly yawned into him.
Cloud's arms tightened around me and he kissed the top of my head before leaning me back onto the pillow, a smile on his lips at my half-closed eyes. "Get some rest," he said quietly, and he rose to his feet, moving to the dresser to find some clean clothes so he could shower before coming to bed.
My eyes slowly drifted shut as he headed out the bedroom door. I heard him murmur, "Love you, too," before he stepped out into the hall. His footsteps moved on until they came to pause again, this time, I knew, in front of Marlene's bedroom door. He would be looking into her room, stuffed full of toys and drawings and everything pink, making sure she was in bed and hadn't done any sleepwalking, as she did occasionally. She had terrified us the first time we had found her missing from her bed, until we finally located her sound asleep on one of the seats in the bar.
I was half asleep by the time I heard him stop in front of Denzel's room. The faint murmur of voices reached my ears, and I knew that our son had probably awakened as soon as the front door had opened. I guess that's what I got for spending the last four years teaching him martial arts and all the habits that came with it.
I smiled to myself. We had been through so much, had fought so much to reach what had once seemed unattainable: being a family, being a real family. We had come in pieces, broken and bleeding, with a dream that had seemed so far out of reach--and we had struggled through so much to reach it.
Our struggles had been worth it. We were a real family. Maybe we had been from the very beginning, and it had just taken putting our shattered pieces back together before we really realized it.
I heard the sound of the water starting up, and I cracked my eyes open, still exhausted but thinking that maybe I would get up and go join my husband in the shower…
A wicked smile teased the corners of my mouth, and I swung out of bed in one smooth motion. Why not? I could stay awake a bit longer.
I crept out into the hallway, stepping past Denzel's door on the way. "Tifa?" he asked questioningly, and I stopped to peer into his room. At twelve, he was getting so tall, but he was still very lanky. His messy hair spilled into his sleepy eyes. "Are you all right?"
"Fine, sweetie. Go back to sleep."
"What are you doing?"
"Going to take a shower," I said innocently.
"But Cloud's--oh. Oh." He groaned and flopped back on his bed, burying his head under his pillow. "Tifa!"
I smirked. That might keep him from being so nosy in the future. Besides, what kind of mother would I be if I didn't embarrass my kids sometimes? "Night, Denzel."
His only response was another groan.