A/N: Long time, no update. I know. Sorry! And it's short, to make it worse... but it's still SOMETHING, right? Thanks for you reviews!!
Tifa sat at the bar. She was the first to wake, which was unusual, but the children had slept in due to the fact that it was Sunday. She also closed the bar for the day, needing the time to think and try to relax. She flipped the page of her book as she heard Cloud's footsteps on the stairs.
"You should really wear shoes in here." Tifa told him. She closed her book and looked at him. "No matter how clean I try and get the floor... it's still a bar." She offered him a smile and when he didn't return the gesture she frowned. "Are you still mad?"
"About?" His word was barely heard. He slipped some shoes on and continued into the den. Tifa sighed in frustration and followed him.
"You're being ridiculous, Cloud. What is this really about?" He ignored her. "Cloud, I'm tired of this. I spend most of my time revolving my life to fit you. Waiting about you, worrying about you... trying to make things comfortable for you. And I never get anything from you." She shook her head, frustration summoning tears to her eyes. "Maybe... maybe this isn't right anymore..."
"What do you mean?"
"Maybe this just won't work anymore. This. Us."
"What about us, Teef?" He looked concerned now. Tifa was relieved to see that.
"Our arrangement. Living here, together. The kids and I... you..."
"I'd never ask you to leave, Cloud." Tifa looked at him. "I've spent most of my life trying to get you back."
"Then what are you getting at, Tifa?"
"Maybe it's me... maybe I should go..." Tifa sighed. Quentin's proposal ran through her head. Along with bad idea, bad idea, bad idea. She couldn't help it. The words were out of her mouth before she could control them. "Quentin suggested I live with him..."
"Quentin." The name dropped like poison from Cloud's mouth. His face was grave. "The kids hate him. You know that."
"I'd never make them leave you, either." The realization of what she was saying hit her. She was unlocking the chains that kept her grounded. She was removing herself from the picture she wanted. She was leaving Cloud. "Cloud... I honestly don't know if I can wait for you anymore."
"I told you. I'm staying."
"I've heard that before. Again and again with you." She looked at him. He couldn't look at her at all. The hurt on her face, the tears in her eyes. And she wanted to leave. Worse- she wanted to leave him, just him, and for another man. "Cloud..."
"You can't be serious, Tifa. What about the bar?" It was his last leg to stand on. She fought for that bar, built it from practically nothing.
"You can take care of that. I won't need it anymore." She was only whispering at this point.
"Think about this, Tifa."
"I am thinking about this." He found her eyes and drowned in them. She was hurting. "I'm tired of thinking, Cloud. I'm tired of constantly trying to keep this family together... I don't know what I'd have done if Marlene and Denzel weren't here when you left. All we do is fight each other now... haven't we had enough fighting?"
"You know you couldn't leave Marlene and Denzel behind."
"Ultimately it's their decision, isn't it?"
"Quentin doesn't want them around."
"You don't know that."
"..." She looked away from him. "Cloud..."
His footsteps were fast, too fast for her to evade. He had her arms roughly in his hands and his mouth over hers before she knew it. The kiss began aggressively, but eventually melted away into some soft... and they clung to each other with their need for each other. When Cloud stepped back, Tifa kept her eyes closed. She knew what he was going to do before she opened them.
And he was out the door.