The patterned scuffing of feet over worn wooden flooring filled the impatient void of silence. Yuffie swung her feet back and forth, her socked toes sliding along.
With an impressive assortment of dishes just waiting to be eaten, the near complete band of fighters sat around the table waiting.
Cloud and Vincent hadn't shown up yet.
"Shera!" Cid shouted.
With her hands on her hips, the middle-aged rocket scientist scowled at the ever whining, ever yelling pilot. "I'm in the next room, not two towns over," she shot back.
Aeris, Tifa, and Yuffie stifled their laughter over the surprised expression in the pilot's blue eyes.
"Are they comin'?" he grumbled, shooting a glare to the giggling girls.
"They said they'd be here, so they'll be here," Shera replied.
Mischievous violet eyes gleamed. "I bet they stopped off for a quickie," the Wutai ninja said.
"Yuffie," Tifa chastised with shock. "You're supposed to be the innocent one here."
"I'm nineteen," the ninja complained. "Besides, last I saw, they couldn't keep their hands off each other."
Aeris sat wringing her hands in her lap. "When was that?"
"Last week," Yuffie sang. "Their house is awesome. Has everyone seen it?"
"No," Barrett grumbled. "But, I'd appreciate it if your perverted little mind didn't say too much 'round Marlene."
"Oh please," Yuffie retorted, "Like you don't let her hang out at the bar all the time."
"I like being a waitress," the young girl chirped beside her father.
Aeris looked around a bit nervously. There seemed to be a tension in the room for some reason. It might have been the odd presence of Rufus Shinra, but after him and Tifa dating for four months, she doubted that was why.
"It's weird you know," Cid stated abruptly.
Aeris sighed. "What is?"
"Them dating like this. I mean, two guys and all," the blond pilot explained further.
Yuffie snorted. She gave a knowing smirk. "I think more than one man has been attracted to Vincent," she declared.
Tifa frowned, reaching under the table and grabbing Rufus' hand. While Shinra's president was the last man in existent she ever picture herself becoming involved with, it happened anyway. After visiting her bar in an increasingly frequent manner, with eyes that constantly strayed in search of a certain red-eyed waiter, those eyes had eventually settled upon herself. It was no secret that Rufus was one a many people affected by Vincent's other worldly presence and appearance. At the reassuring squeeze the regal rich boy gave her hand she smiled contently. No one wanted to believe that he'd turned over a new leaf, and she even suspected that he actually hadn't until they'd become involved.
While Yuffie's comment just so happened to include more than one person at the table, she was directing it to Cid. As such, the gruff pilot scratched the back of his head and gave a faint blush. Standing up, he excused himself for a moment to get some tea.
The moment Cid was in the kitchen with Shera, Yuffie broke out into a laughing fit. "He's too easy sometimes," she managed to speak.
"What'd I miss?" Barrett asked with confusion.
"Nothing," Nanaki answered. Shaking his head at the ninja's antics he prayed for the gunman to arrive soon and bring some much needed sanity.
With a smile, Aeris relished the more comfortable atmosphere that seemed to have replaced the tension. "I think they're perfect for each other," she voiced in firm belief.
"Yeah, yeah," the dark skinned gunner grumbled. "Can we talk about something other than Cloud and Vincent hookin' up?"
"How about my engagement?" Tifa offered.
As silence fell around the table, and Cid popped his head back in at the lack of noise, every set of eyes turned to a blushing kickboxer turned bar owner turned model.
While Tifa seemed frozen under everyone's stares, Rufus was never one to be flustered. Deftly raising the young woman's hand from beneath the table, their fingers twined, he flashed for all their eyes the expensive ring the raven-haired girl had been bashfully hiding all night.
The first to react was the brown haired Ancient. Aeris, who was seated on Tifa's other side, swiftly pulled the recently engaged woman into a tight hug. "Congratulations!" she cried.
With a relieved exhale, Tifa relaxed into the hug. She honestly wasn't sure how everyone was going to take it. It was all so sudden, and everyone still seemed a bit wary of the blond president's intentions.
"I thought this was a celebration for my rocket launch into space," Cid commented before taking a deep drag from his cigarette.
Shera quickly came into the doorway and snatched the stoge. Breaking it in two, she pointed a finger at the uncouth pilot. The suddenly strong willed Shera was a change that Cid was far from getting used to. "No smoking in my house," she declared.
"This is my house woman!" Cid shouted.
"I clean it, I sleep in it, I make the payments on it, I stock it with food!" the female engineer shot back. Puffing out her chest, she just dared him to refute. With no blame weighing her down any more, she felt free to be herself. The only trouble was, somewhere along the way, she'd fallen in love with the gruff man called 'The Captain', so she was sticking around for good.
"Dammit!" Cid shouted back, at a loss for a better remark. "My water's boiling," he mumbled, tearing back into the kitchen.
Aeris turned back to Tifa and Rufus. "That's his way of saying he's happy for you," she assured.
Barrett started laughing, though he didn't dare give words to his thoughts about Cid getting what was coming to him.
"I like Shera with a back bone," Yuffie declared while eying the particularly delicious looking cake in the center of the table.
The young eyes of Marlene wandered from face to face, wondering at the mindset of each person.
"Did they say they could make it?" Nanaki questioned.
Crossing his arms, Barrett stated, "They'll be here."
"Yeah, after having hot steamy-" Yuffie never managed to finish for the large hand clamped over her mouth.
"Marlene," Barrett began in an instructing manner, "Never listen to anything Yuffie tells you."
"We'll be late," Vincent whispered.
Only half listening, Cloud mumbled an affirmative, "Nnh"
They'd made it as far as the living room in their expansive home in the Woodlands. Isolated and vast, it was perfect to train together, among other things. Now, however, without any threat of unexpected visitors, they were having trouble managing to not become prisoners of their unbidden lust for each other.
Cloud trailed nibbling kisses along an already thoroughly marked up chest. "You said we had time," the blond swordsman mumbled absently, his mind focused on the delicious body before his eyes, not some dinner a whole continent away.
"I said we had time for one go, not four," the gunman tried again. However, his hints to get dressed and hurry off to the celebration party were countered by his actions, as he arched into the teasing mouth at an exposed nipple.
"Ancients above you're beautiful," the spiky blond hissed out deeply. His hair was in disarray, but the raven strands he'd been continually running his hands through weren't in much better shape.
Panting a bit under the intense gaze of those Mako blue eyes, Vincent relented to his younger counter part's wishes. "You'll be the death of me."
With a smirk, Cloud dragged his naked body along an equally naked pale beauty beneath him. Leaning up, he thankfully pressed his lips to pout bowed ones. Though attempting to take it slowly, keeping the general drawn out pace they usually carried, the gunman writhed impatiently.
"Fuck me already," Vincent hissed. The never ending supply of sexual energy Cloud seemed to have would truly be the death of him one of these days. As it was, he found logical reason in writing it off as stamina training. Of course, that was not even close to being the reason for why he always gave in and returned equally fevered and lustful feelings.
"Say it," Cloud urged.
Crimson eyes peeked through slits as the pale man threw his head back at the direct fondling to a very touch sensitive region. "I love you," he spoke softly, managing to impress a million promises and meaning into the simple phrase even through his aroused daze.
Cloud would never tire of hearing those words spoken so smoothly from those soft lips. Lightly pressing his lips against the gunman's he returned the sentiment, "I love you too."
Quickly following the pleased smile, which Vincent had yet to refrain from forming each time the blond spoke his vow of endearment, the red-eyed fighter bucked upwards. Wrapping his arms around the younger man's neck, he leaned up and tongued the swordsman's ear. Biting the lobe, he whispered, "Fuck me already."
"As you wish," Cloud complied. Mentally he checked that this would be a future record to break. Five rounds of heated sex in a row. It was a record he'd be more than happy to work on breaking.
"Goodness, what took you guys so long?" Aeris questioned in the closest tone of berating that she'd ever be able to carry.
"Technical difficulties," Cloud supplied unconvincingly.
At the less than enthused stares everyone sent their way, Vincent scoffed and rolled his eyes.
"What?" Yuffie questioned the use of what technical difficulties could mean. "Cloud couldn't get it up?"
"Say, Marlene, are you feeling tired?" Barrett asked his daughter after throwing a harsh glare to the corrupted ninja.
Blushing, Vincent ignored the girl's comment. Mumbling just loud enough for the blond swordsman to hear, the gunman said, "Technically, he's a horn dog."
"Damn straight beautiful," Cloud retorted, clapping a hand to Vincent's ass before caressing his way to simply setting his hand around the other's slim waist. Guiding the gunman in further, they sat beside each other.
Though the food had gone a bit cold, the group could finally begin. There was no more questioning as to where the couple had been.
A/N Ok, I wrote an epilogue. I'm no more content with the slight extension than I was with my previous ending, but I don't think it hurts the story either. Since I wrote it, I might as well include it. So everyone has their own lives. Tifa and Rufus (what a shocker!), Cloud and Vincent, hints about Shera and Cid, Barrett and Marlene, Yuffie back in Wutai and sometimes in the bar, Nanaki/Red XIII in Cosmo Canyon, and Aeris with her school. I thought it'd be too clichéd to have some summary of each person in their own place. Besides, I started it with them being together, minus a few extra peeps, so I'm ending it with them together.
Thanks to all my reviewers. You guys seriously give me so much motivation and encouragement to keep writing!