Interrupted by Fireworks!

By: General Quistis (generalquistis@yahoo.com) and Zhakeena (zhakeena@yahoo.com)

The typical disclaimer: We do not own Final Fantasy VII. We only own the crazy idea that started this fic. Any similarities to any other story are pure coincidence. So ang mapikon dito eh tanga. Mwahahahah!

Authors' notes: We do not have the memory of a friggin' elephant, so we used a bit of artistic license on the scenes which are indicated on the FF7 script.  

***

Cloud was just standing around in his hotel room, not really doing anything. "Hmm. What will I do now? The others really don't have anything to do, either…. Might as well get some shut-eye," he thought to himself.

"Cloud?" a voice from the door, along with a knock, came out.

He opened the door and sure enough, there was Aerith. "Oh… Aerith… is at my door… Anything you want from me?" he asked.

Aerith giggled. "Yeah, as a matter of fact, Cloud…" she began as she made her way in the room.

Something about the look in Aerith's eye made Cloud a bit nervous. "H-huh? What is it?" he asked.

"Oh, Cloud! You do remember what I promised you, right?" Aerith asked, grinning.

"Er…"

"The date, Cloud. I get to pay you with a date, remember? Coz you were my bodyguard and all…" she said, taking a few steps closer to Cloud.

Cloud blinked. "Oh, right, the date…" he said uneasily. "Is this a good time to have that date? Coz you know, it's kinda getting late and…"

"No time like the present, Cloud! Come on," Aerith said, taking his hand and sort of dragging him out of his room. "Don't worry, it's not like I'm gonna ask you to pay for an expensive dinner date…" she said reassuringly.

Cloud smiled at her uneasily. "O…OK?" he replied just as uneasily.

***

Tifa was seated in the lobby of the hotel at the Ghost Square, sighing to herself and watching those weird ghost-like thingies play chess at one corner. Vincent was also there, mumbling to himself as usual, and Cid was there, fast asleep on the enormous red couch.

"Geez… I shouldn't have given Yuffie the key to our room… she's having too much fun betting at those Chocobo races…" she thought to herself angrily. It was a bad idea. She was getting sleepier by the second, and listening to the monotone mumblings of Vincent and the snoring of Cid wasn't helping her stay awake…

Her 11th yawn at the lobby was interrupted when the elevator went "Ding!" and Aerith and Cloud came out. She saw Aerith talking to a blushing Cloud as the two of them walked.

"Oh! Hi, you guys, where are you going?" Tifa asked.

"Er… Hi, Teef!" Cloud said, waving awkwardly.

"We'll just be out in a little while, Tifa," Aerith said with a sweet smile on her face.

Tifa blinked twice as she smiled weakly, feeling her heart beating fast. "You and… Cloud?" she asked uneasily.

"Yeah, we'll see you in a little while, Tifa," Cloud said before walking away with Aerith, leaving Tifa there, feeling so stunned. She remained standing there for a few more minutes, trying to comprehend everything in her mind as she clenched her fists. "FINE! First Yuffie gets the key… then this?! Why is life so unfair to me?" she thought miserably as she looked away with tear-stained eyes.

Vincent noticed her suddenly turn away with an angry look on her face. "Tifa… are you all right?" he asked.

Tifa, who wasn't aware of Vincent's sudden attention, sighed before replying. "Oh… you know, Vincent, right?" she said.

"Of course," he replied with a quiet tone. Well, it seems that Mr. Valentine wasn't so absent-minded after all… "You should take a walk around the Saucer… maybe all those blinding lights would wake you up long enough before Yuffie gets tired," he suggested.

"Yes… That's a good idea, Vincent… I'll be back soon," Tifa replied glumly, making her way out of the gloomy hotel.

***

Vincent was right; the noisy crowds and the neon lights woke her up the instant she saw and heard them. But of course, the gloomy feeling inside didn't change as fast as those blinking lights did. She sighed as she made her way towards the cotton candy vendor. Maybe some sugar would help her mood change…

"Hiya! Want some cotton candy, beautiful girl?!?!" said the cheery cotton candy vendor.

She gave him a half smile. "Yes, I would…"

"Okay! What color?"

"Er… pink?" she said, noticing that there were only two colors: pink and blue.

Tifa waited for a few seconds as the man prepared her cotton candy.

"Oh you know, pink really isn't your color,"

Tifa jerked upon hearing someone speak up from behind her. She turned around swiftly, thinking it was a maniac who wanted to take advantage of her so she gave it into thought that she wanted to punch him for saying that, but she stopped upon seeing who it was…

"Hey, who is this guy?" she thought silently as she studied him: strawberry blonde hair, icy blue eyes; he was wearing white trousers and a black long-sleeved turtleneck shirt… oh yeah, and he's eating white cotton candy.

She raised her eyebrow. "White?" she asked aloud as she stared at it.

The man handed her the pink cotton candy. "That'd be 1 gil, Miss," he said. Tifa paid for the pink cotton candy before facing the blonde guy again with a challenging look on her face. "Oh yeah? Well it's too late for you to say that," she said before she turned and walked away and started to eat. "Gee… this feels nice. Eating because of depression… maybe after this I'll go and get myself some shakes and then some fish balls and then barbeque and then those shakes again and…"

"Are you aware that you're talking aloud and that I can hear you?"

"Shit, who is this guy?!" she thought miserably before stopping to face him. "What do you care?" she asked.

"I just went after you because you left your change," he replied with a calm look on his face.

She blinked. "Change?" she asked.

"You gave the man 5 gil instead of 1. Here," he handed her the change. She took it quickly and placed it inside her pocket. "Thanks," she said before running off.

He watched until she disappeared through the crowds of all the people. He uttered an audible "Hmph," before walking in the opposite direction.

***

"This is the 5th strawberry shake that I've consumed for tonight… I'm gonna get sugar high… but at least I'm not sleepy anymore," Tifa thought silently as she finished the glass and threw it away in the bin. She began to look around again for food. "Let's see… I've eaten 10 sticks of fishballs, 20 chocolate bars, 5 candybars…" she said, counting all her consumed foodstuffs with her fingers. "Man, I'm gonna have to beat up the entire SOLDIER army to get back my original weight…" she thought to herself glumly. She saw another cotton candy vendor. "Oh there! I'll have my second serving of cotton candy!" she said as she ran to the vendor.

"One please," she said with a sweet smile on her face.

"What color?" the man asked.

Tifa examined the colors: Red and white. She remembered the blonde guy a while ago who was eating white cotton candy. "Maybe this is where he bought his cotton candy," she thought silently before telling the man, "Red, please."

"Coming up," the man replied with a kind smile.

"Oh so you finally chose the right color for yourself,"

Tifa twitched. "Not again…" she thought impatiently before turning to face the blond guy from behind her. "What is your job? Are you a new Turk from ShinRa who's assigned to stalk people who eat cotton candy?" she asked.

He raised an eyebrow at her as he laughed lightly before replying, "Well, as a matter of fact, I think I could apply for ShinRa as the cotton candy inspector. You know how much President Rufus loved those things, and maybe if they're not providing electricity, they could just produce cotton candy… imagine that: Shinra Cotton Candy Company. Has a nice ring to it, huh?" he asked with a wink.

"Oh that is so lame," Tifa said, but she giggled anyway. "Oh, no… the sugar is starting to get to me!" she thought.

Apparently, the weird blonde cotton candy obsessed dude noticed this too. "The cotton candy smell must be playing with your head already. A joke that bad isn't worth giggling that much for," he teased.

Tifa found it hard for her to stop giggling. "You know, maybe you're right, but I'm eating this dosage anyway," she said as she took the red cotton candy from the vendor, who was raising an eyebrow already as she handed him 1 gil.

"Hey, aren't women supposed to be obsessed about their weight? Aren't you worried about getting fat?" the blonde guy asked as he walked after Tifa.

"Are you saying that I'm fat? Because I'm sugar-high enough to kick you off this Planet," Tifa said.

"No… on the contrary, actually. You have a…. I mean, you're very attractive woman," he replied, apparently not having any real experience with flirting.

Tifa raised an eyebrow and frowned. "I do hope you're not a pervert…" she said dangerously.  

He gave her a nervous look. "N-no, of course not!" Then, he flipped his hair and gave her a suave smile. "I'm simply too refined to be perverted."

Tifa frowned even the more so, but another fit of giggles came. "Well, there are such things as refined perverts, you know. Those perverts who are too rich for their own good," she said as she munched on her cotton candy. Which was exquisite, by the way.

"Not all rich people are bad," he responded with a calm expression on his face.

"Of course, you'll say that… you're rich!" she said. "You'll end up defending your own kind… probably even yourself," she continued. She stared at his clothes. "By the way, what are you doing in a crowded place like this? Aren't you supposed to be in some kind of more saucy amusement center rather than this one?" she asked.

"I just like to eat some common food here." He replied before turning to the fishballs vendor. "Five sticks please," he said.

"Oh I see… you're getting tired of those cordon bleu stuff and those stuffed turkeys that you eat?" she asked.

"If you ask me, they're more fattening than these things." He replied as he got his five sticks of fish balls and paid for them. He offered two sticks to Tifa and insisted that she took them.

"Gee, thanks," she said quite shyly.

They began to walk, eating together. "So do you live around here?" he asked.

"No. I was just accompanying some friends." She replied.

"Well where are your friends?" he asked.

"I think one of them's in the arcades, the other one stayed behind, I don't know where the others are, but the other two went on a date," she said glumly.

He frowned slightly. "You sound grouchy," he said.

"Not really. I'm just a little disappointed," she replied.

"Wanna tell me all about it?" he asked.

"No, you're still a stranger to me," she replied frankly with a mean smile on her face.

He smiled slyly at her. "You're street-wise, you know? I admire that," he said before flipping his hair. He wondered to himself why he refused to use gel to brush back all his hair; now everything's falling to his face and getting into his eyes.

"It's necessary. Living in Sector7 in Midgar taught me how to be like this," she said.

"Sector 7?" he asked in surprise. "…her looks do not qualify her to be in that slummy area… she's more fit to be… in Sector 1… with me…" he thought silently as he stared at her, imagining her wearing more formal clothes. "…like a red ball gown…" he mumbled softly with a secret smile on his face.

"You're saying something?" she asked, interrupting his thoughts.

He jerked and blushed slightly. "Nothing… I was just… remarking on why the hell would you be living in Sector 7?" he asked.

"Because of financial problems," she replied.

Silence.

"So, maybe if I tell you some things about myself, you could open up to me?" he asked frankly.

"Maybe…" she replied. "What's his problem? Is he majoring in Psychology and he's asking for my problems?" she thought silently with a slight frown.

"Okay. First let me tell you… I came from Sector 1… also in Midgar. I live there with Old Man's old servants," he said.

"Old Man?" she asked. "Now where did I hear that…" she thought silently.

"My father doesn't deserved to be called father, if you know what I mean…" he replied snobbishly.

"I see… care to tell me why?" she asked.

"Hmm… he's just an old dork." He replied with hints of hatred in his eyes.

"Why? What did he do?" she asked.

"All he cared about was money, money, money… and women… and gambling… it's like this is his idea of gaining power: money."

"Power over what?" Tifa asked.

He mentally kicked himself for saying that. "Uh… you know… he likes to butt-kiss to Rufus's dad? You know how powerful the ShinRas are…" he fibbed.

"Oh… I see…" Tifa said as she nodded. "Where were you born?" she asked.

"Nibelheim. But we had to move to Midgar… then Old Man transferred me to Junon… so that I could study there." he said.

Tifa was silent for a while, then she asked mindlessly, "So you know the ShinRas?"

"To be honest with you… yes…" he replied with a blank look on his face, trying to avoid her gaze.

"You know Rufus?" she asked.

"Of course," he said with a quiet smile as he flipped his hair again.

"Is he nice?" she asked.

"No, he's not. He's a mean green machine." He said with a scary voice.

She laughed at him. "Like what people know about him?" she asked.

He stiffened. "What?" he asked.

"People see him as some kind of evil man just like his father… only, he's colder and emotionless…" she said.

"Who knows, he could just be acting. I know that guy, he's nice… if you're nice to him. He's just got some… some thing from his past… that caused him to be… that way," he stammered uneasily.

She noticed his uneasiness. "You okay?" she asked.

"Yeah, I'm fine… what about you? Where were you born?" he asked, wanting to change the subject.

"Nibelheim too… but then I had to leave there when I was 15," she explained.

The guy looked at her. "Yeah… I think I remember seeing your face before…" he said.

Tifa blushed. This guy remembers him from childhood, but she doesn't remember him. How embarrassing. All she remembered about her childhood was Cloud, Cloud, Cloud. "Er… That's kinda funny, cause I don't remember you…" she uttered sheepishly.

"That's okay. I have this weird photogenic memory, I guess. I remember several insignificant people when I shouldn't… not that you are insignificant…" he replied.

"Uh-huh… Right… hey, this thought just came to me… you've told me everything about you, except your name," Tifa said, looking at him suspiciously.

"Well then, we're even. You haven't told me your name yet, either," he said calmly.

Tifa blinked. Yeah, she hadn't told him her name yet. Not that she wanted to. "Okay… we'll leave it at that, then…" the guy said, walking ahead.

"Hey, what's the matter? Are you afraid of me knowing who you are, or something?" Tifa said, snapping back to reality. What was with this guy?

He stopped and sighed. "Sorry. As much as I want to trust you, I can't. It's too dangerous for me. You'll understand, if you were listening, right? I'm rich, so I have to be more careful than others," he explained.

They stopped for a while to but some iced tea after finishing their fishballs. After purchasing two glasses of iced tea, they walked again, not knowing where to go.

All the lights and noise were beginning to sicken them, so they headed off to a secluded area away from the noise and the lights.

They sat down on a bench, finishing their drinks and then threw it aside.

They were both silent as they looked up at the stars in the night sky. "Beautiful, isn't it?" she asked.

"Huh?" he asked.

"The stars," she said.

He smiled slightly. "Yeah." He muttered.

Tifa was about to say something else but she stopped when she recognized two people passing by them: Cloud and Aerith. She instantly hid her face away from the two.

He noticed her sudden reaction upon seeing Cloud and Aerith and he also frowned. "Anything wrong?" he asked.

She waited until the two had gone away before replying. "Oh… those are my friends… they're the ones who went on a date here… but I don't want them to know that I'm also here coz they might think that I'm spying on them," she explained.

"Are you?" he asked with a slight frown on his face.

She shook her head. "Of course not. I just decided to go here to cool off because… I have to admit, I really felt somewhat jealous when he asked her out instead of me… but anyway, I feel better now. I don't feel jealous anymore," she said with a calm smile on her face.

He smiled at her. "That's good to hear." He said before looking away.

They looked away from each other, really not knowing what else to say. Before they were engulfed in total silence, the guy decided to say anything that just popped out from his brain, even though it would be stupid, "Do you love that guy?"

She stiffened at the question but she found herself frowning. "I don't know." she replied suddenly. "Why would you even ask?" she asked with a defensive tone.

"Nothing," he said blankly, staring at the floor.

She looked at him with a curious expression on her face. "What about you? Do you have a girlfriend?" she asked.

"Nah. Never had one. No time…" and looked at her, "…but if given a chance, I think I'll have one." He said with a slight smile.

She scratched her head. "I see…" she said, totally clueless.

"And you," he gently flicked her nose with his index finger. "I could tell that you've never had a boyfriend before, right?" he asked with a playful smile on his face.

She laughed at him as she shook her head before she playfully flicked his nose too, "Don't do that to me!" she said.

"Is that an order?" he asked suddenly with a demanding tone and a threatening look on his face which made her stop and stare at him unbelievably. "He sounds just like…" but she stopped her thoughts when he laughed at her. "I was just kidding," he said.

"Nah… he can't be him… he never laughed… he's made of stone…" she thought silently as she laughed with him.

All those sugar that they consumed the whole night made them feel so light-hearted. "I think the iced tea was a bad idea," Tifa said in between giggles.

"I think it's just fine," he said as he tried to control his laughter, but he couldn't help it.

The other people passing by already thought that they were crazy but they just ignored them and continued to laugh together.

"We should really stop laughing now," Tifa suggested after a few more minutes, but she was still laughing.

"Okay then… unless we might end up falling to the ground because of too much laughter!" he said, but he was still laughing too.

"Heeheehee! And then have too much gas!" she said, adding to the laughter once again.

"Hahahahahaha! Hey, we could make beautiful music together with our farts! Hahahahaha!" he said.

"Oh yeah? Go head, pull my finger," Tifa said.

He did so.

Nothing happened.

But they laughed harder.

She crouched down, hugging her own tummy. "Ow… hahahaha! Enough already, my tummy's beginning to ache…" she said, but she trailed off when she almost fell off the bench.

Luckily, he was still alert, so he caught her in his arms.

That was when they stopped laughing.

He stared at her, gazing into her crimson eyes. "You okay?" he asked gently.

She nodded unbelievably. "Y…yes," she replied, rather shakily.

Their faces were too close to one another… too close that…

Tifa didn't know how it happened, but suddenly she felt his lips upon hers. Her eyes widened, not knowing what to do… because it just came to her that the kiss was beginning to last longer than it should… like for more than two minutes already… and to her surprise, she was already returning the kiss… but then it just ended too soon for her.

Tifa didn't know what to say for a few seconds. "What… just… happened?! Oh my gawd…" she thought in disbelief as she stared into his blue eyes… which she found more expressive than Cloud's.

She smiled lovingly at him, surprising them both. "My name is Tifa… Tifa Lockheart," she said softly.

He smiled at her upon hearing her name. "You have a lovely name," he said.

"Thank you," she said as she blushed further. "What about you?" she asked.

"I'm Ru…"

KABWABWAAM!!!! Fizz fizz fizz! WhoooeeeeeH!!!!!

It figures that the fireworks would go off to interrupt one of those "moments"….

The cacophony of all those drowned out the guy's voice. In fact, the noise was too much for Tifa to bear. She had to cover her ears and flinch. She might have squealed with the crowds who were marveling at the colorful displays, but she didn't notice.

When she opened her eyes again, she saw him stand up and looking at his watch. "Shit… I'd better go back now or they'll send out Soldier or Scarlet to find me…" he muttered before running off.

She got up. "Wait!" she called out, but the noise was too much.

He didn't hear her.

She pressed her lips together as she trembled slightly, clenching her fists as she gazed down to the ground with a frustrated look on her face. She wanted to cry.

She looked up at the skies, proceeding to watch the fireworks alone as her tears fell from her eyes. She smiled bitterly. "I'll find you again…" she thought silently. She got up and shouted amidst the noise, "I'll find you again!"

With that, she wiped her tears away and began to walk away, "I don't even know his name…" she realized in shame as she made her way back to the hotel.

***

            "Where have you been?" Yuffie asked.

"Just… out there… eating…" Tifa said, realizing that her tummy was already aching too much. She headed straight to the bathroom.

Vincent stared as the bathroom door closed. He smiled slightly and just shrugged before looking away.

"What are you smiling about, Vinny?" Yuffie asked as she landed with a 'THUMP!' on her bed. "And what are you doing here in our bedroom?" she asked.

"Cloud's not yet back from his date with Aerith and our room's locked. He has the key," he replied.

"But what's with that smile? Did you do something?" she asked as she hugged her pillow.

"So I just went out and roamed around. I saw Cloud and Aerith together… and then Tifa with this guy… I don't know who he is," he said before he got up and left, wanting to avoid further questions.

"Hey!? Who's the guy!? Vincent?!" she wailed.

Tifa got out of the bathroom with a sigh of relief. She walked wearily to her bed and plopped down with a tired look on her face.

"Hey, Teef… were you seeing someone?" she asked.

"No," Tifa replied wearily as she covered herself with a blanket.

***

            "You just got in, President Rufus? Don't mind me asking but where have you been?" Heidegger asked.

Rufus flipped back his hair with an annoyed look on his face. "I took the chopper and parked it somewhere and then just walked around," he muttered.

"Kyah… I almost thought that you're a different person, President Rufus… I mean, without your white jackets and seeing your hair not gelled back! Kyah…" Scarlet said with a weak smile on her face.

Rufus ignored the two and just proceeded down the hallway going to his bedroom.

Away from the Executives' prying eyes, the cold look on his face disappeared and he was now smiling gently. He got into his bedroom and plopped down on his bed with a dreamy look on his face.

However, he had this sad look in his icy blue eyes as he hugged his pillow. "Tifa," he mouthed.

He turned his head to the direction where the window is so that he could gaze up at the stars. "Someday… someday…" he whispered softly before closing his eyes and fell asleep.

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-end-

General Quistis's Note: review, please… but don't flame it or say bad things about it because I already know how bad it is. Oh and do remember what bad and mean critics are… they're the ones who failed in the arts and literature… so if you failed in those fields, don't make it obvious… I might laugh at you! I mean, we're all aspiring writers here, right? The world isn't such a bad place so that you'll add more meanness to it… so let's just respect each other, okay? Intiendes?! But then maybe some of you will say, "then if you have mistakes, we don't have the right to point it out?" Well then if you see anything wrong (i.e. wrong spelling, etc), just point it out calmly! Don't cuss and don't sound like we're stupid or something… remember, you are not God and nobody's perfect.

Zhakeena's note: OK, you heard what she said, no rude flaming! And… hope you enjoyed this fic. If any of the characters seemed OOC… Well, that's the way we want them. It adds more flavor to the story. Hah. So there. Oh, yeah, if you see other mistakes, point 'em out nicely… we won't call them flames then. Then they would be called "constructive criticism".