Seven: Tifa

            One day, upon waking up, Tifa found out that she…

Had lost her assets.

She gasped in horror… even as she went to the 7th Heaven Bar that evening, she was still stunned.

Aerith came running in and stared unbelievably at Tifa. "Tifa… what happened?I had heard that you lost your assets, but I didn't wanna believe it, but it's true… what happened?" she said in horror.

"I… I don't know…" Tifa said in disbelief. "I… I slept last night knowing I still had them… and now… they're gone…" she said softly as she poured herself a glass of water from the fridge.

Aerith approached her. "I think you should… rest for a while. You look so terrible…" she said.

"I do?!" Tifa asked as she looked up at Aerith when she seated herself on a stool.

"Yeah, you look stressed out." Aerith said gently as she patted her head.

Tifa began to cry. "Those are so precious to me! Now they're gone!!! I can never face people again without those!" she said as she covered her face with her hands as she sobbed helplessly.

"No, Tifa… I'm sure they went to the 7th heaven for other reasons, you know?" Aerith said reassuringly.

"But Aerith, those are what made 7th Heaven beautiful!" Tifa said.

Barret entered. "Teef! Teef! I heard what happened!..." he froze. "Oh my goodness… the foo'… I hardly recognized…" he trailed off when Tifa looked up at him with a warning look, "Don't ever think of continuing that sentence," she warned stiffly.

Barret just cleared his throat. "Oh…kay… but what happened… to your assets?" he asked in disbelief.

"I… I don't know!" Tifa exclaimed.

"Maybe ShinRa has 'em." Barret sneered.

"What would they even do with it?" Aerith asked.

"I don't know… give them to Rufus?" Barret asked.

Silence.

"You're not making me feel any better, Barret," Tifa said darkly.

"Heheh… just tryin' ta cheer ya up, foo'… Look," said Barret, patting her back, "Losing your assets doesn't mean you should quit runnin' the 7th Heaven, a'ight? Now you go out there and do your job right!"

"Go where? I'm here in the 7th Heaven already." Tifa pointed out.

"I meant da counter, ya foo'!" Barret told her.

She slowly got up and hugged herself, appearing as if she's covering her chest. "I'm so miserable…" she said with a sad look on her face.

"Tifa, don't be ashamed! It's not your fault!" Aerith said reassuringly.

"But… but…" Tifa stammered. She then sighed, put her hands down and went out to the public.

The public cheered, and, trying their best to ignore the lack of assets, started ordering whatever is available.

A few minutes later, Rufus ShinRa went in all by himself like a big boy. He looked around, and his eyes fell on Tifa. He frowned a bit as he approached her.

Tifa, feeling Rufus' gaze on herself, looked down and tried to hide behind the counter by pretending to get something below. She froze when she felt Rufus tap her back. "Hello there," he greeted.

"H-hi!" Tifa replied sheepishly. "Welcome to the 7th heaven may I take your order?" she said breathlessly.

"I… can't help but notice that you don't have any…" Rufus tried to find the right word to say, "assets." He finished.

Tifa sighed in response. "Are they that obvious?!" she said in frustration.

"Yes, pretty obvious."

Cloud, who was eavesdropping from the "Authorized Personnel Only" area, raised an eyebrow.

"Uhm… Aerith… what are they talking about?!" he whispered to Aerith, who was cooking something.

She looked up and answered, "Oh, poor Tifa. She lost her assets this morning…"

Cloud made a face. "Lost… her… what?"

"Assets," Aerith replied simply.

"How come you're so calm?" Cloud asked in disbelief.

She looked at him curiously. "Huh? What do you mean?"

"I mean, if Tifa lost her assets, doesn't that mean…" he trailed off when he heard Tifa speak up again.

"I really don't know what to do now, Rufus… I mean, without my assets, the 7th Heaven would probably go down in a flame…" Tifa told Rufus.

"Don't worry, Tifa. If you want, I can lend you my assets," Rufus replied.

The eavesdropping people gasped in shock.

"How the hell is Rufus going to do that?!" Barret asked with a confused look on his face.

"He can do that easily, right? I mean, with his money, anything's possible…" Aerith said.

Cloud looked at them in disbelief.

Barret shook his head, "I'm going back to the house." He said before leaving, passing through the back door, leaving Cloud and Aerith inside the "Authorized Personnel Only" Room.

Cloud just stood there with a dumbfounded look on his face. "Would you mind explaining to me, Aerith?" he asked.

"Explain what?" she asked.

"How is Rufus going to…" Cloud trailed off when Rufus spoke up again, saying, "We'll start tomorrow."

"Can't it be tonight?" Tifa asked.

Cloud's eyes widened. "Surgery?" he thought.

"The stock market is closed already. We'll do it tomorrow, alright?" Rufus asked.

Cloud frowned. "Oh, so he gets his money from the stock market?" he thought silently before listening to Rufus say, "What are you so sad about, still?"

"I feel so miserable and hopeless without those assets of mine… it's like I'm not complete without them…" Tifa responded.

"Oh don't worry, Tifa, you're still beautiful even without them." Rufus said.

Now Cloud was really confused. "I'm outta here…" he mumbled to Aerith.

"Why? Don't you want to help me here?" she asked.

"You can just tell Tifa to stop moping around just because she lost her… her assets and then move on and don't consider having surgery." Cloud said before going out through the backdoor.

Aerith blinked. "Surgery? What the heck was Cloud thinking? Oh well," she shrugged and continued chopping veggies.

The next day, Tifa's assets still weren't back.

She went down to the dining area for breakfast and saw Cloud, Cid and Vincent gaping at her like they have seen a ghost of some sort or something else.

Aerith turned to her and smiled sweetly. "Oh, good morning, Tifa! Did you get your assets back already?" she asked.

"No. Not yet. But Rufus said that he's coming over to help me get them back," Tifa responded with a weary look on her face as she sat down and got a piece of bread… but before she took a bite, she froze upon noticing that the three boys were still staring at her. "Good morning," she greeted.

"Uh… you still don't have your assets back?" Cloud asked uneasily.

"Yeah." She replied.

"Eh…" Cloud hesitated.

"Well, how come your boobs are there?" Cid asked directly.

Silence.

"Maybe surgery isn't over yet… you know, I think it comes in stages," Vincent pointed out nervously.

Silence.

Aerith and Tifa exchanged confused glances with one another. "What?" the latter asked.

Silence.

"Tifa! I got your assets back!" Rufus announced as he barged in.

Silence.

"You know how funny that sounds, Rufus?" Cid asked teasingly.

Rufus raised an eyebrow as he stared at Cid Highwind. "What?" he asked.

"How much did you pay for Tifa's surgery, Rufus?" Cloud asked.

"What surgery?" Rufus asked with a ridiculous look on his face.

"Uh…" Cloud hesitated.

Aerith began to snicker.

Tifa got up, annoyed, her face red in embarrassment. "What the hell are you talking about?! I know what's going on here, you think…"

Cloud got up and patted her shoulder, "No need to be embarrassed about it, Tifa, we know you have a rich boyfriend and all and we never knew he just loved you because of your big chest and then he insisted on letting you have surgery and put silicons and…"

Tifa slapped his face, "Why I never?!?"

Rufus was shocked. "Bloody hell! Idiot! ASSETS! Not the… not that!" he told Cloud impatiently.

Silence.

"Oh… the assets… as in… money?" Vincent asked.

"Hell, yeah?!" Aerith, Tifa and Rufus all said in unison.

Silence.

"I think I'll just walk Red XIII outside," Cid said before he got up and left.

"Uh… I'm needed… outside… it's my turn to water the petunias…" Vincent said before he got up and went out in a hurry.

Which left Aerith, Tifa and Rufus to stare at Cloud.

"Uhm… I'm… uh… g'bye," he said before running out of the house.

"So… they thought it's… that," Rufus said, pointing at Tifa's chest.

She smacked his hand away from her chest. "Leave it alone," she muttered miserably.

Aerith just giggled.

-end-

a/n: you naughty, naughty readers. ;-)