Disclaimer: Let's say it together shall we (try not to cry in
between words): SQUARE-SOFT--OWNS-IT. I-WILL-NEVER-BE-ABLE-TO-OWN-IT.
Good job everyone *sob*
-Angels in a bottle-
Maybe it's the room's hazy atmosphere. Nothing but oranges, reds, yellows bouncing off the dark lit room.
Maybe it's just the group of smokers on the back corner; puffing smoke lazily into the oxygen of the bar; sharing the nicotine poison with everyone.
Or maybe it's because of the bottle of Vodka in front of him; reflecting his glum/smug look with its tear like liquid. Maybe it was the bottle that was making him feel slightly lethargic and calmer than usual.
Normally, by this time (10 o'clock on a Friday night), he would be moping on his stool, grumbling about his past, his troubles, his bills, and his life. But it seems that the service that the bottle was giving him tonight has been more soothing.
No worries about my career tonight, he thought to himself as he poured himself a glass, in which he swallowed down with one gulp; the liquid burning down his throat as it passed him. Nope, everything is A-Okay tonight. 'Don't need to whine about my shitty life to no-one.
He gave a satisfied sigh and slumped against the bar edge, his left cheek against its cool surface; his blue eyes watching mirrored figures dancing in distortion through his glass. He took sight of a young couple who came in, arms around each other, walking side by side with a smile. He pouted, disliking the sight in his mood. He grumbled disapprovingly at the reason why such a cuddle some couple would enter such a bar at this hour.
"Makes you sick doesn't it?" the woman across from him behind the bar began as she sat across from him, almost in the same mood as he.
Looking up in surprise, his eyes gazed hard at the brunette and frowned as he thought that the woman was mocking him, "So what? You got a problem with that, missy?"
The woman moved her eyes at him, irritated with the tone he gave her, "No. I noticed you didn't like the two as they entered. I was just clarifying the obvious." she moved her hands so that they crossed in front of her on the surface of the bar, and gave a look at the man who's attitude tonight seemed interesting to her. She took note of the half empty bottle of Vodka in front of his laying face, "Can't handle the liquor tonight, Reno?"
The now proclaimed Reno let out a laugh, "Where'd you get this shit at? Wait, wait.. you added shit in this one, didn't you? Hoping you could knock out Reno the Turk and get something out of it."
"If I wanted to knock you out, I could just easily bring my fist to your head," the woman smirked at him triumphantly. She waited a while for a reaction from Reno, and succumbed her smile into a bored look when she didn't get one, "Wow, you really are drunk. You didn't have anything to say to me after that?"
Reno's gaze remained glued to her face, taking in his sudden admiration for the young woman's facial features, "You want join me tonight, sugar?" a lopsided grin covered his face, "You know you want to."
The brunette looked at him unpleasantly and picked up the bottle of Vodka away from his reach, "Remind me to never sell this to you again." she briefly turned around to stow the item away on the shelves.
"Aw come on!" Reno grumbled as he sat up, feeling that once the soul-savior-in-a-bottle before him was taken away, it was a matter of life and death, "Come on, Tifa, give it back!" he made a immature gesture to her by slamming his fists against the bar, catching all eyes of the room.
Steadying herself with a chagrin look to her 'oh-so-lovely' customer, Tifa moved her hands on her hips as one of the many silent pre-warnings to him, "Quit being such a childish ass!"
"Childish ass?! You took my fucking drink!" Reno slit his eyes at her as he spoke, "I paid for that whole thing, dammit!"
"Oh come off it!" Tifa said exasperatedly, "You're too drunk tonight, and you know it! You know Nibelheim doesn't like you, and you already have over five penalties from the mayor!"
By this time, the whole room knew the quarreling of the two was indeed going to grow into a fight. Cautiously, they stayed silent and vigil to the moves and words of the pair of frustrated individuals.
"What do you care about what I do around here?" Reno stood from his stool, knocking it to the floor, "Just give me my fucking drink and let me decide whether or not Nibelheim can kick my ass out of this place."
In a swift move, one that Reno perplexed on in his drunk stupor, Tifa had crossed over the bar and onto his side where she stood in front of him with a glare, "You've got a lot of nerve saying that with such ease. Who the hell got you accepted in this place anyways?"
Reno stared hard at the woman and sharply brought out his night stick with his right hand and released it into its longer and more powerful version, "I never asked you to do that shit for me."
"Nevertheless, I did! And I'm starting to regret it right now," she shifted her feet below her, releasing the tension in her calves as she entered her fighting stance.
"Oh, this should be interesting," Reno casually threw his night stick onto his right shoulder, tapped his left foot a few times before entering his own fight stance, "I don't recall you ever kicking my ass without your little helpers before," he hunched his upper body slightly and gave a cunning smile, "Bring it on, novice."
The frequent customers who were already cautious of the situation, stood up on their feet ready to leave in a moment. But in their half-drunk condition, they still stood by to watch the event. Meanwhile, the newcomers of the bar had already fled to the exits of the room, running off with a cry for outside help.
For a few quiet moments, the Turk and Avalanche member gazed at each other, trying to read the other one's next move. The one to break the pleasing silence of the room was Tifa who rushed to the Turk with a fake high kick. Reno took in the action, knowing what the move was going to be before hand, and quickly leaped a ways back. What he didn't suspect was Tifa's feet encircling the floor of where he stood and capturing his legs under him.
As he was falling to the floor, he reached up with his left hand for the bar's edge and grasped on it. Recovering to his position, he swung his night stick at the Tifa crouched on the floor. Tifa leaped back to her feet, narrowingly dodging the low blow from Reno, but unfortunately didn't notice the night stick's edge headed to the side of her face. The whole room gave a ghastly gasp as it struck her on the cheek and made her fall into the floor with a moan.
Reno's hand twitched as his move proved successful, though he doubted in himself that he enjoyed it much. His eyes moved worringly over Tifa, who sat on the floor silent and shocked at the red blood that seeped around the fresh cut on the new bruise on her left cheek. He felt it, the minute his night stick swung in the air towards her, that it was going to be a mistake to do. As if guilt overpowered his will to boast, Reno quickly retreated his night stick into his hidden holster around his belt and kneeled in front of the bleeding girl. He sensed her fear-stricken eyes at him as soon as he joined her on the floor, and he could tell that she was trying so hard not to overreact as tears threatened to fall from her wine-colored eyes.
The whole room of people began to whisper in a deathly tone, passing each other words of how the Turk just proved to the town how he would never change from his original reputation.
"Tifa.. I didn't mean it," he tried to explain as his eyes moved at the work his night stick did. He breathed hard as he noticed Tifa's eyes accumulate into a look of pure fury, "Tifa, I really didn't mean to." With precaution, he watched as Tifa seemingly ignored his words and stood up from her spot.
"What the hell was it for then?!" Tifa shouted at him and used her foot to kick Reno on to his back. Shifting back into fighting position, not paying any attention to the blood pouring down her head or the diminishing feeling all around her body, Tifa clenched her teeth in anger at the arrogant Turk, "Come on, you ass!"
Sympathetic, yet offended by her words, Reno stood up and furrowed his eyebrows at her, "Would you forget about the fucking fight! You're bleeding to death!"
"Who's fault is that, you ungrateful son of a bitch." Tifa threw a punch at him only to have her punch missed. Frustrated with the way the Turk was evading the fight, Tifa conjured a combo of punches, all in vain as the Turk blocked and moved aside, "You take your life for granted, and I'm sick and tired of you not even appreciating my own concerns for your well being!"
Reno, surprised at the woman's words, missed to dodge an advancing punch which struck him in his stomach. Within seconds, he was back to his knees again, coughing and struggling to breath as his lungs suddenly lacked air. Tifa stood nearby, her rough punch in the gut seemed to compensate all her frustrations and anger towards the Turk.
"Learn from this, you bastard." with no hesitation, Tifa exited the bar and departed, leaving Reno on the floor staring after her with bitterness of his actions a large amount of burden on his shoulders.
The cool night air seemed to relax him a little as he walked home from the bar, which was now empty as the customers went home for the night. It had only been ten minutes after the 'now popular' event in the bar that night, and Reno knew it had been a great mistake to have picked a fight against Tifa. Not only that but strike her hard with his nightstick.
The feeling of sickness began to grumble in his stomach as he passed the many houses of Nibelheim, and kicking the pebbles on the path, he was trying to think up a way to make it up to the young ex-Avalanche. He really wasn't supposed to even be near one of them, but he knew that after the fall of Shinra, and Cloud Strife taking control of the new Mako-Refinement corporation (Reno scoffed at the thought of the blond man with pointy hair), that he wouldn't get into any kind of 'Turk-Law' trouble. Besides, Tifa, to him, was a friend.
Like it was mentioned in the bar, Tifa was the person that helped him reside in Nibelheim. He wasn't sure about the real reason why, but she said that she felt pitied him in a charitable way.
He remembered how he had come to Nibelheim. Obviously, living in Wutai never worked out. He was always out of money, always jobless, and always turned out to have a splitting headache every morning because of his drinking the night before. His fellow Turks: Rude and Elena; both of them decided to settle into a home and never had time for Reno the 'still-keeping-it-Turk'. And for that he was disgusted by his supposedly friends. But then he got to thinking of how it would be easier to settle down. And so he figured that he would move to settle, and at Nibelheim because he couldn't get anymore jobs in Wutai.
He remembered it raining when he entered town, and he remembered how the Inn wouldn't let him have a room because he looked like a Turk (he still was to himself even though the corporation has stop existing). So he visited the local bar that he thought was named pretty familiar from a bar he had been in before, and when he sat on a bar stool to order a drink, there greeting him with a surprised look was none other that Tifa Lockheart.
At first she was quiet to him when he ordered a drink, and she briskly got it for him. He tried not to get annoyed with the girl's incessant staring, but instead of getting irritated with her, he greeted her with a "How are you?", in which she answered with a natural, "I'm fine. How are you?".
From there, they managed to make conversation, and even Reno was relaxed enough to tell her about how he decided to move here, and the problem of having to find a shelter that night. So Tifa had offered to talk with the the owner of the Inn, and miraculously, the Inn accepted him that night. Ever since then, he looked at Tifa as a friend as she did also to him.
He sighed in despair as he passed the entrance path of the Inn. He stared at it as he passed knowing that it wasn't his place to go to... not anymore anyways.
His head turned towards a two-story, white painted house a couple of yards away from the Inn; his home. There, on its front porch, sat a woman he was stunned to see outside, and what it looked like, waiting for him. He silently walked up to her; she was refusing to make eye contact with him or even acknowledging his presence but he knew better.
"What are you doing out here?" he asked softly, his eyes gently trailing from the woman and onto a patch of yellow dandelions protruding through the ground near the bottom step of the porch. As he waited for her reply, he bent down and plucked them out, brushing off the clinging dirt around its ends.
The woman still refused to look at him as she gingerly placed a clean, damp towel over the wound on her left cheek, "You have the keys."
Moments passed on until Reno moved the handful of dandelions onto her lap; he received a sideways glance from her. They were both still silent as they locked gaze, and finally moving on to his pre-planned thoughts, Reno gave a deep sigh as he moved to sit with her on the top landing. It had been a month long that he lived with Tifa. After finding some deeper feelings for her, and her actually accepting and returning it, Tifa was now more than just a friend to him.
He shuffled his feet against the dirt beneath them, "I really am sorry, Tifa. I know it sounds like I really don't... but, you know, I'm really not very good at things like that."
"Am I supposed to just say that's okay?" Tifa retorted as she crossed an arm in front of her; the other still tending her bruise.
Reno scratched his head in annoyance, "Look, I swung at you, but I figured you'd just block it or something. I didn't mean to hit you! Believe me, as soon as I noticed my nightstick swinging at you like that, I knew I already did something wrong." he looked over to the woman, trying to read any possible reaction to forgiveness. He cursed silently to her, knowing Tifa kept her feelings very well secret.
After a long while, Reno felt it hopeless to even try to apologize. So he did what any sorry Turk would do: Surrender.
"Go ahead, kick me out Tifa, I deserve it." he exhaled in disappointment and stood up in front of her, "I'm sorry I even got myself into your life, alright?"
"That's how it always goes for you, isn't it? Stay for a while until you make your mistake, then leave and head for something newer and less intolerable," Tifa stood up also, joining him on the bottom step of the porch, the flowers on her lap falling to her seat, "I'm not going to kick you out because what you did is not okay, and I'm not going to let you get away with it that easily."
"You think saying that I'll let myself leave you is easy for me?" Reno threw his hands up into the air, "You have got to be kidding me! I just struck you and made you bleed and bruise," he gave a pathetic scoff, "I can't be doing that to you, Tifa! I lo--" he stopped suddenly to the words that was trying to come out. And he wasn't ready for them to be out yet. Quickly skipping that part off after Tifa raised his brows at him, Reno put his hands down in front of him and cast his eyes towards the door of the house, "And I don't want to leave..." turning to her with distressed eyes, he brushed a hand carefully over the wound on her cheek, "but I harmed you." and as his hand went to fall back down, it remained beside her face as she grasped for it.
Tifa looked over at him with concern in her gaze, and without any words, she took his hand in hers and walked up the steps, "Come on, Reno, I'm tired."
Not moving an inch as Tifa tried to pull him towards the door, Reno felt confused at the sudden brush off from the woman, "Tifa." he called her name as if demanding the response she was trying to hide.
Tifa turned to him with the same concerning gaze and proceeded to urge him on the top landing with her. When he got there, Tifa looked up at him, "I know... you really didn't mean to hurt me or anything, okay? I was just.. tired of you being so uncaring at everything.. even me," she still kept his hands in hers as she diverted her gaze elsewhere, "When you said to me to let you decide whether or not Nibelheim will kick you out, I thought.. maybe you really don't care that... well, that I'm here for you. That you'd be just fine with or without me."
Reno knew he hadn't meant to give that kind of assumption to her, and now he was stricken with more guilt for his actions than before. Trying to ease the apparently fidgeting woman, he bent to her lightly and planted a small kiss on her right cheek; he gave a grin at the small patches of red she gave off on her face as he pulled away, "You know I wouldn't say things like that just unexpectedly. I've never really said anything related to you that was that uncaring, right? It's got to be that damn bottle you sold me!"
She gave an amused smile and a small laugh, before moving on his body for a hug, "Come on, I'm tired, and you are going to clean my wound because you were an ungrateful, drunk, asshole tonight."
Reaching in his pockets for the set of keys, he unlocked the front door
and entered in with Tifa clinging in a playful manner in his arms, and
replied to her in dripping sarcasm, "Yes, princess."
Next Chapter: "between Me and You"
a/n: Surprised you a bit in the ending eh? Yup, they are already together. But even though you weren't there to witness how, troubles are coming to the relationship that will bring some of the past. Also, the present and the future isn't exactly perfect. Stay tuned, and thanks for reading ^_^. Reviews or feedback would certainly be nice too.