A/N: This is a Cloud/Tifa with hints of Reno/Yuffie fic. If you flame me for the coupling, then I know you're an incompetent fool. Why? Cuz I already warned you, and you chose to flame anyway ^^;



Unexpected Help
by Clara

He was nervous.

But then again, that was to be expected.

Cloud Strife was sitting underneath a tree on a bench, mentally kicking himself. Dusk had already fallen, but he didn't want to move from the bench. He was reeeally nervous. But hell, what was he supposed to do? He had never been accused of being the 'sweet and caring' type, so of course this would be hard.

He never could picture himself asking someone to marry him.

Now I bet you're going "Cloud, ask someone to marry him?! Bah, he can barely spit out five words at a time! You must be kidding me." But it was true. Cloud had been in love with Tifa for.. how long?

Long enough.

However, Cloud had cold feet.

"What if she says no?" he muttered to himself, snapping the ring case open, glancing at it, and snapping it closed again. Then snapping it open again.

"I'd kill myself if she said no.. I seriously will." Open, look at, close. Repeat.

"But what if she says yes?" Snap, pause, snap. "I'd be the happiest man alive."

"What the hell are you mumbling about?" a lazy voice drawled. Cloud flushed, then opened his mouth the stammer out a rather lame excuse.. when he saw who it was.

"You!" He leapt to his feet, not even bothering to put the ring back in his pocket. Reno just shot him an amused glance.

"Relax, Spike," Reno said dismissively. "I don't want to kill you. I'd get no money by doing so. Now, what were you mumbling about?"

Cloud sighed, slumping a little. Well, it couldn't hurt to tell him. He paused. Actually, it probably could. But what the hell. He didn't have anything important to lose.. besides his pride.. and the girl he loved.. and whatever shred of sanity he had left.. and..

"I want to ask Tifa to marry me, but I don't know how."

"That's easy!" Reno said, then snatched the ring from Cloud. Before Cloud could make a sound of protest, Reno fell to one knee dramatically and looked deep into Cloud's eyes. "All you have to do is go.." He opened the box without looking at the ring, then held it up to Cloud. "Tifa Lockhart, will you marry me?" he said in an over dramatic voice.

This, of course, attracted some attention.

Turning beet red, Cloud grabbed Reno by the hand and dragged him away from prying eyes. When they were a safe distance from everybody, Cloud grabbed the litte velvet box from Reno and favored him with an icy glare.

"What?'

Cloud sighed. "Nothing. It's more than that, though. What if she says no? What if she doesn't love me? What if.."

Reno reached over and smacked his hand over Cloud's mouth. "If you keep thinking of excuses, then you're going to talk yourself right out of asking her to marry you. Just don't think about it, man, and ask her already! It's a lot easier then you're making it seem."

They stared at each other for a few long moments, before Reno finally removed his hand from Cloud's mouth. They stared at each other silently, before Cloud spoke again.

"You sound like you're speaking from experience. Are you.. married?"

Shocked silence.

Then Reno started laughing like hell.

"Me?" he gasped out. "Married? You have _got_ to be kidding me. I knew you were stupid, but I didn't realize you were _that_ stupid. Me? Tie myself down to one woman? You've got to be kidding me!"

Cloud looked at Reno knowingly. "When you fall in love, you'll understand why I'm 'tying myself down to one woman'."

"There's no such thing as love," Reno said. "It's all in the brain."

Cloud raised an eyebrow. "Remind me to look you up in a couple of years. By then, you'll probably be married."

"It'll never happen."

"Whatever. Anyway, I'm going to ask her to marry me tonight."

Reno gave his once enemy a reassuring pat on the back. "Good luck, man. Invite me to the wedding."

"Will do." They clasped hands for a moment, then turned around and walked in seperate directions. Reno and him.. friends? What an odd development.

Suddenly, he found himself in front of the door of Seventh Heaven. On the door, there was a sign that said "Sorry, we're closed. Come again some other time!". He blinked, then wondered when he walked there.

"Ah well.. here goes nothing." Cloud opened the door and strode as confidently as he could.

"Tifa?" he asked nervously as he reached the counter. Tifa spun around, looking tired. When she saw who it was, all traces of fatigue vanished and she beamed at him.

"Hi, Cloud!" she chirped, wiping the counter in front of him.

For a moment, his confidence wavered. He glanced at her beautiful face and forced the butterflies in his stomach to go away.

"Tifa, can I ask you something?" he asked, walking behind the counter.

Tifa cocked her head to the side, looking slightly confused. "Well, sure."

The butterflies came back. With friends.

What did Reno say to do? Oh yeah..

Cloud fell to one knee, then looked Tifa deep into the eyes. Understanding slowly seeped into her eyes, accompanied by hope and fear and joy and some other emotion he couldn't name all at once. He gulped once, tried to find his voice, couldn't, then gulped again.

"Tifa," he asked in a husky voice. "Will.. will you marry me?" He looked away, afraid of what her eyes would betray.

That is, of course, until Tifa practically pounced on him. She threw both her arms around his neck and kissed him as deeply as she could.

Well.. I guess that's a yes.. Was his last thought, when he decided that thinking would be rather pointless at the moment.

*

Reno whistled, walking down the darkened streets with his hands jammed into his pockets. He was absurdly proud of himself. Setting that spiky headed fool with that well endowed barmaid up had been strangely satisfying. Hell, the two deserved each other.. after all, Cloud did try and join Soldier for the spunky, gorgeous woman, and Tifa had spent.. how long waiting for him to recover in that.. now destroyed place?

Spying. Got you lot's of information.

But that didn't change the fact that Cloud was still an idiot. Love. Heh. There was no such thing.

His thoughts were cut short when he was bowled over by a something small, soft, and warm.

"Watch where you're going, asshole!" A decidedly female voice snapped at him. He opened his eyes, willing the pain in his spine to go away.

For a brief, undescribable moment, amethyst clashed with turquoise.

"Y-Yuffie?" Reno asked, blinking. The younger ninja blinked back, before she leapt off of him, looking disgusted.

"Ewwww! Gross!" she cried, brushing herself off. Reno glared, then pushed himself up to his feet.

"I'm flattered," he grumbled. "You can stop brushing yourself off now." What was this.. Greet Your Neighborhood Avalanche Members Day? He sighed. Reno-boy.. you're getting soft. "I'm outta here."

Yuffie grinned, then waved a decidedly fat, brown leather wallet at him. Which.. was his. "See ya later, Turkey!" she called, then disappeared.

For a moment, Reno stood there in stunned silence. Then..

"GODDAMNIT!"

*

Somewhere, Cupid grinned.

-end.



A/N: *snickers* I wrote this rather quickly.. took me about an hour or so. Anyway, I hope you enjoy! ^^;

Also, I have a request. If anyone is willing to proofread my works, please e-mail me at ldechols@aol.com. I'd deeply appreciate it ^^