Tifa looked out at the muted purple sky, staring at the lapping waves that shone sliver in the glistening moonlight. To the casual observer, the look on her face was melancholic and pensive as she gazed out at the ocean like some wistful romantic pondering unrequited love. In point of fact, it was a blatant attempt on her part to ignore her current company and it wasn't working. At all.
For their part, Rude and Aeris didn't seem to notice her discomfort at all. They were too absorbed in their own conversation. Reminiscing was serious business. Reminiscing when drunk was even more serious. So they laughed and joked and occasionally cavorted completely oblivious to Tifa's increasing annoyance.
Downing her third vodka, she felt aggravated and dissatisfied with many things, the foremost reason for her dissatisfaction being the Turk who sat so nonchalantly next to her like he belonged there. This was a girl's night out, dammit!! AND HE WASN'T A GIRL! They hadn't let Cloud tag along and he was their friend. There was just no way he should be here and he was...and it was annoying.
Not to say tonight wouldn't involve men. Far from it. There was supposed to be much flirting and making out and dancing and maybe more making out. But with anonymous strangers! Not with Turks! She supposed she was being a bit unreasonable. Vodka had a way of doing that to her, but it was the principle of the thing! She turned to glare at him as surreptitiously as she could. He noticed and smiled.
Ordering a Long Island, she listed the many good reasons not to associate with a Turk. The first being...HE WAS A GOD DAMNED TURK. The second was more personal but valid all the same. It was no secret Rude had a bit of a crush on her. He'd admitted as much one night when he'd had one too many at her bar. Needless to say, she was horribly embarrassed about it and pretended she hadn't heard it, more for her own dignity than his. The very idea of it! It just...it just...it just didn't sit well with her. It was all wrong.
Perhaps in some sort of super-no-way world she'd go out with him but as it stood now in the real world...hell would freeze over first. Though she had to admit it wasn't because he was bad looking or anything and he did sort of have a decent personality...if you took away the part about him killing people for money. And had he been a normal guy she'd probably have gone out with him. Okay, maybe not seriously. Because in Tifa's opinion there were two kinds of guys—There were the cute guys you banged and like a good bartender, you turned them out before sunrise because really...they weren't good for much beyond a few thrusts. Then there were the kinds of guys that you really liked and could have a good conversation with when you woke up in the morning...and maybe you thought about keeping them for awhile. And then there was Cloud but he was in a class all his own...
Thinking on which category Rude might fall into, she decided that she'd probably pity fuck him and maybe keep him as a friend afterwards...depending. He was a pretty good drinking buddy, but she couldn't imagine he'd be much more. Then again...she could be wrong about him. Maybe he was a scholar ne plus ultra. Maybe he had a worn out copy of Professor Gast's "Universal Natural History and Theory of Heaven: a New Explanation of Metaphysical Knowledge" hidden in his coat pocket or something. The thought struck her as so funny that she guffawed loudly and slapped the table, earning her a pair of confused stairs from her companions.
She raised her eyebrows imperiously and cracked a crooked smile as she took a sip of her Long Island. "Cheers!"
They just shrugged their shoulders and continued their conversation. Tifa took this moment to reflect on how many drinks she'd had—three vodka tonics, one Screwdriver, a whiskey sour, and she was working on her second Long Island. So she had a pretty good buzz on right now. She looked over at Aeris, who was completely sloshed. The girl had drunk at least four or five more daiquiris after the first two and now she was working on a margarita.
Aeris giggled shrilly, slurring in a high pitched voice, "D'ya 'member tha' time h' got 'is head stuck in a sewer intake valve? I thaght he'd nebber git hish head ou'..."
Rude laughed, "Okay. Enough drinks for you..."
And with that he took away her margarita. She pouted but accepted the water he'd ordered for her instead. Tifa narrowed her eyes and downed her Long Island in one gulp. Bastard! How dare he be a nice guy! The specter of Shinra hung over him...he wasn't allowed! In the order of things it was right out and she meant to put a stop to it.
Aeris couldn't do it because she was too busy staring at the ice in her water as she stirred it. Yuffie was off doing whatever it was Yuffie did when no one else was looking. It was up to her. She ordered her third Long Island and glared at him.
"So...what's the deal?"
He looked at her blankly, an eyebrow lifting underneath his dark glasses.
"You—Turk. We—wanted criminals. Need I say more?"
Rude gave her a small, mysterious smile and raised his glass cheerfully. "We're off duty."
"Mm-hmm. On our way to Wutai for a well needed vacation. Thought we'd stop here and enjoy the sights."
"Huh. Lucky for us then."
"Yeah. Lucky for both of us..."
Tifa blushed violently, sipping on her straw with as much dignity as she could. He laughed and she mumbled, "Don't get any ideas, buddy..."
This almost pleasant moment was broken by the distinct sounds of a ruckus coming from the table across the way. Reno and Yuffie were clearly having some kind of disagreement. Their raised voices had begun to draw a crowd...and just when they seemed to calm, things made a turn for the worst. Reno accused her of having the waitress dilute her drink with water. Yuffie then seemed to lose all sense of reason.
"I'LL SHOW YOU SOME MOTHER-FUCKIN' WATER...YOU 笨天生的一堆肉!!"
That being said, she grabbed a drink from the nearest passing waitress and threw it, shot glass and all, at Reno. It bounced off his head, showering him and those surrounding him with tequila. Every single person in the bar froze. Yuffie's eyes widened and she went a little pale for a moment, but it wasn't long before her arrogant bravado returned. She looked the red haired Turk straight in the eyes, daring him to make a move. He twitched and wiped the tequila off his face with a napkin he'd swiped from a gap-mouthed onlooker.
"You know...I don't normally hit girls but you're making that vow awful temptin' to break."
She looked at him with eyes narrowed and drawled, "You think I'm scared of a 狗操的 jackass like you? Puh-leeeeeeeeeeese."
He twitched again. She smirked. And in the blink of an eye, they leapt at each other so quickly that no one could rightly say who'd thrown the first punch. When she looked over at Rude, she found he was as pale as she was. There were only two words that could explain exactly what she felt at that moment. Oh...shit.
They both stood up and watched in horror as Yuffie and Reno tore a swath through the nightclub's patio. She back-flipped, feet connecting with his chin and he stumbled backwards and shook his head, barely blocking a punch aimed at him. Holding her fist in one hand, he swung her around and threw her into a nearby table. She staggered to her feet, using a very large bald man for purchase. Ducking and rolling, she tore one of the waitress's drink platters from her hands and flung it at him. It grazed the side of his head before he caught it and threw it behind him without looking. It dinged another patron, who got up to see who'd thrown it at him.
"WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING!?" A voice boomed, interrupting the rather good fight Yuffie and Reno were currently having.
Reno had been in the middle of blocking a kick, when he paused to regard the man coolly. Pushing Yuffie back almost lazily, he rushed the approaching bar patron and elbowed him hard in the stomach. The man crumpled to the floor and Reno kicked while he was down. Snarling snidely, "Mind your own fuckin' business, asshole."
Which would have been cooler had he not been tackled moments later by a five foot two teenaged ninja.
Tifa and Rude watched this with the dull kind of horror that was reserved only for innocent bystanders. In her head, Tifa was running a sort of commentary as the fight devolved into greater levels of stupidity--A swinging sidekick here, a few blocked punches there. Oh, Reno throwing Yuffie by the ankle into one of the club's bouncers...that was a nice touch. Within a few minutes the entire bar was up and brawling. Just as abruptly, the instigators of the fight had forgotten their differences and proceeded, as a tag-team, to beat the shit out of other people instead.
Rude and Tifa could do nothing but watch...stunned silent while anarchy rose around them. Until, of course, a rowdy, drunken participant in the fight tried starting some shit with her. It was just another drunk tearing at her clothes and feeling her up because the liquor gave him courage but for some reason she was way less tolerant than she'd ever been before. Usually, she'd just throw his ass out the nearest available door or window. Tonight, tonight was different. Tonight, she felt like busting his ass and before she knew it, she was trading blows with everyone else, back to back with the very Turk she'd wanted nothing to do with minutes before.
Ducking a particularly sloppy swing, she caught her assailant's wrist and flipped him into a table. Taking an odd kind of satisfaction in the sound his body made as it connected with glass and wood, she paused long enough to properly admire her work. She was so caught up that she would have been bum-rushed by a very angry drag queen. The very same drag queen in the pink dress she'd seen and admired earlier and if Rude hadn't intercepted her...
Well then, she could have listed 'being bum-rushed by a drag queen' on her list of weird things that had happened to her. She was almost disappointed. Pushing it to the back of her mind, she struggled out of her shoes as they were hindering her more than helping. She tied the long straps together and hung them around her neck, smiling brilliantly at her genius. And when the chance arose, she used those shoes like a primitive and very fashionable sling. Knocking out a Go-go dancer who'd latched onto Rude's back and had been clawing at his face like a cat on crack.
Working together, they fought their way through the crowd to retrieve their friends, who were still in the middle of the fight. Punching some catty club hopper in the face, she turned and looked out towards the street. She could hear the telltale sirens and if she looked closely enough, she could see the blue and red lights flashing in the distance. The cops had been called.
They'd have to hightail it out of there if they wanted to avoid trouble. Rolling her shoulder, she flipped the club-hopper over her shoulder, sending her limp, unconscious body barreling into a group of four rowdy frat boys, who collapsed into a rumpled heap.
Rude was currently going at it with a guy about his size but clearly half his intelligence...as his opponent had the stance of a man who'd watched one too many cowboy movies and his punches were so obviously telegraphed that a six year old could have predicted when he'd swing. Tifa recognized him as one of the bouncers. The very same bouncer who'd given Yuffie shit when they'd entered.
One of his little cronies was sneaking behind Rude, bottle in hand. She swiftly grabbed his hand and disarmed him, twisting it so she could deliver a powerful kick to his sternum, powerful enough to send him flying out of her hands and onto the floor; where he slid for a few feet before stopping. Tossing the bottle one handed, she shouted out to Rude, telling him to duck before she caught the thing mid-air and threw it right at the bouncer's head. Moving at just the right time, Rude was able to watch the bottle connected with the man's head and he couldn't help but smile a little.
"I try..." She said as she grinned and shrugged, throwing a couple of more punches.
The sound of Yuffie screaming obscenities in Wutanese drew their attention back and they waded through the crowded. And after breaking a few faces here and there, they struggled their way to Reno and Yuffie, who had appropriated a pair of patio umbrellas which they were wielding like Wutanese warrior monks, swinging the things around their heads like gaudy naginatas.
Weaving through the crowd and quite sure Rude was behind her, she ran up to Yuffie, taking out a couple of people on the way. The young ninja had just done a lovely spinning move with her umbrella/naginata, kneecapping several able young seamen in one graceful stroke. They lay on the ground around her, holding their knees and crying for their mamas.
Laughing heartily, she did some kind of fancy finishing move before pronouncing. "HA! What a bunch of pansies! NO ONE MESSES WITH THE GREAT NINJA YUFFIE!"
"Yeah, well the great ninja Yuffie might wanna beat cheeks...lest she get busted by the cops for underage drinking, disturbing the peace and just being a general pain in my ass," Tifa commented blandly, taking away her mighty umbrella-nata and dragging her by the wrist through the crowd.
She didn't look back to see that Rude had done much the same thing. Difference being, he'd grabbed Reno 'round the waist and hauled him off like a sack of flour. Tifa stopped once they found a place in the club that was relatively safe, quiet and devoid of violence.
Straightening his jacket and wiping away the blood gushing from his nose, Reno smiled and held his hand out. He and Yuffie shook hands and bowed, and then proceeded to hug each other and cry...like good and proper...extremely drunk...warriors.
Rude laughed and shook his head. "I think it's time we said our goodbyes."
"Yeah...I'd say thank you for the nice time but..." And she trailed off, gesturing to the chaos behind them.
"What? I'd say this was probably the best date I've ever had..."
Somehow all the tension she'd felt that day had fled and she realized...he was right. And this time, it was Tifa who laughed and shook her head.
"Yeah, I guess you're right...it was a pretty good time..."
"A damn good time."
She grabbed Yuffie by the collar suddenly, pulling a drink out of her hands.
"No more rum drinky for you, short round."
Then she remembered something. Something very, very important and she dropped Yuffie so quickly that the girl fell to the ground in a very undignified heap.
"Holy shit! Where's Aeris???"
The sound of glass shattering just behind her caused her to snap her head around. What she saw there was the most mind-boggling thing she'd ever seen. Aeris, the little pacifist of the group, had beaned some guy on the head with a beer bottle. She just stood there as he crumpled, broken bottle held delicately in one hand as she stared at him with a look of earnest amazement on her face like she'd never seen anyone taken down that way. Blinking, she stepped over him demurely, wobbling just a bit, having sobered up a tad by now, as she walked towards her friends. And once she got there, she wrinkled her nose, threw away the broken bottle and rubbed her hands together before giving them the brightest smile they'd ever seen.
"Well, that was fun! Where to next?"
And before Tifa could object, Yuffie had suggested enthusiastically, "How 'bout the 'Yellow Submarine'? It's supposta be ultra exclusive...I stole an invite from this guy..." She pulled it from a pocket and held it out for all to see. "I can bring anyone I want...plus...this thing gets us an all night two for one special..."
"FUCK YEAH!" Reno exclaimed, putting an arm over Yuffie as they staggered out of the club and into the street. He turned back and smiled drunkenly. "Joo comin' Aeriff...Earssshh...Raris...A-a-aerishfth..."
The flower girl trotted forward and shook her head, taking his other arm and draping it over her shoulder. "Uh...yeah. Someone has to keep the two of you out of trouble."
Rude and Tifa watched them with eyebrows raised.
"Well, that's doubtful," Tifa snarked quietly, unable to hide the sardonic bite in her voice.
"So...I guess this means you'll have to suffer me for just a bit longer. Think you can handle hanging out with a Turk for that long?"
Tifa thought for a moment, tipped her head and held out an arm. "Don't know yet. I'll get back to you later..." She paused for a moment, nodding her head again in encouragement. He was waiting for a better answer. "OH! C'mon. We're on vacation. You're on vacation. It's a win-win..." Another, more thoughtful pause and then. "But this time...no bar fights."
Rude grinned, chortling. "I ain't promisin' nothin'."
She scowled half-heartedly, putting every effort into not smiling and failing miserably. "Bastard."
"So says mom..."
They laughed together and it was genuine and carefree. Tonight he wasn't a Turk and she wasn't a known eco-terrorist on the lamb from Shinra. There was no Sephiroth. No imminent doom hanging over their heads. They were just two people enjoying Costa del Sol's vibrant night life and that was enough. He took her arm and they followed their friends down the street and she wondered for a moment where the road might take them...Suddenly, it really didn't matter that much.
She wasn't much for proverbs or anything...but someone once said it wasn't the destination...it was the journey. So for tonight, she'd allow fate to take the reigns for a moment and enjoy herself. That was what girl's night out had been all about anyway.
When all was said and done, she couldn't honestly deny that she hadn't had one helluva time. None of them could really. And the next day, when they'd stumbled in just after eleven in the morning the only thing any of them said when asked what had happened was...
Good times. Damn...good times.
Author's Note: The Chinese in this chapter comes from a Firefly pinyin-ary, taken from the Chinese language dialogue in the show. If it is incorrect and you are fluent in Chinese, please feel free to correct me via email. A link for which you can find on my profile! Thanks!