Chapter 6

oOoOo

The commotion ceased by midnight when the SOLDIERs and Turks finally got the situation under control. They've arrested the rebels and much to their delight, caught the leader of the rebels as well.

Electricity has been restored to the Shinra HQ and the injured guests had been taken to the hospital for proper treatment.

The President and the First Lady had been taken to the 70th floor's balcony where a helicopter ready to take them to Junon was waiting. Tifa, Sephiroth and Zack were with them.

During the flight to Junon, Tifa had a disturbed look on her face. She was just staring out the window while she remained seated before the First Couple.

Mrs. Shinra was looking at her curiously with a concerned look on her face.

President Shinra, on the other hand, was making calls to Vincent regarding the safety of his son, and to his close friends present in the party, apologizing for what happened.

Zack was piloting the chopper while Sephiroth continued to communicate with the Turks in Junon to inform them of their arrival.

"Dearie, are you alright?" Mrs. Shinra asked, interrupting Tifa's thoughts.

Tifa jumped slightly out of surprise. Her eyes were wide as she turned her attention to the First Lady.

The First Lady smiled at her reassuringly, "Your parents are okay. I made sure of that." she told her.

Tifa smiled bitterly and nodded before looking away. "I'm … worried about Rufus." She said softly.

"He's being transported to Nibelheim to the Shinra Mansion. He'll be staying there until further notice." Mrs. Shinra answered.

President Shinra hung up from his latest call. "I was trying to contact Rufus, he's not responding." He muttered miserably.

Tifa breathed in, wishing she could really say what's on her mind, but she did not want any opinions raised by the President and the First Lady so she just kept quiet.

"Sephiroth, fly over to Nibelheim first. We'll drop off Tifa there and we'll head to Junon." President Shinra instructed.

"Yessir," Sephiroth answered as he swerved to change the route. Zack began to contact Junon regarding the change of plans.

"Really, dear, is this necessary? Cloud is with Rufus; and Nibelheim is practically a safe place!" Mrs. Shinra told her husband with a slight frown on her face.

"I can't stand the thought of Rufus without Tifa. Surely she has done a great job!" he answered with a proud look on his face while looking at Tifa. "I know you could become a great Turk. Why didn't you join SOLDIER, young lady?" he asked.

Tifa smiled weakly. "Uh… no, I don't think so." She said softly.

"Well even without training from SOLDIER, you've been a great bodyguard." President Shinra told her reassuringly.

Tifa just bowed down her head and pursed her lips. She wanted to shrink. For the rest of the flight, she remained quiet in her seat, wondering how she was going to explain herself to Rufus.

As soon as Sephiroth landed the helicopter on the helipad at the backyard of the Shinra Mansion, Zack gave Tifa instructions to keep in touch with Sephiroth and Vincent regarding Rufus's situation.

When the chopper left after the First Couple had exchanged goodbyes with Tifa, she found herself alone in the mansion's backyard. She sighed heavily before going to the back door and opened it. She found herself in the kitchen and there was a maid waiting in that area. "You must be Miss Lockhart." The maid said, curtsying.

Tifa just smiled faintly, feeling uneasy. "Yes, I am. Has the Vice President arrived yet?" she asked.

"Not yet, ma'am. But we received word from Mr. Strife that they'll be arriving in 2 hours." The maid answered. "In the meantime, let me show you to your room." She added, leading the way.

Tifa was brought to her room, and the maid explained that there is a connecting door to Rufus's. When the maid left her, she just remained standing by the bed, staring into empty space with a troubled look on her face.

"2 hours…" she said softly. She figured that she could think of what to say to him while waiting. Carefully, she explored the room until she came across the door connecting her bedroom to Rufus's. She opened it, surprised that it was not even unlocked. She stepped into his room and was overwhelmed by its size and color scheme. It was larger than her room, and it had white walls with black borders and maroon carpeting on the floor. His things were neatly organized and she supposed that if she opened his closet and drawers, she would find that the clothes and everything else are arranged neatly in an orderly fashion.

She walked over to the window and took a look outside. She could basically see her house from there. She smiled, suddenly finding herself reminiscing of the past and wondering if Rufus even saw her as a child. She also recalled when she would see Rufus peering through that window, watching her and the other neighborhood kids play and he had an envious look on his face.

More memories from her childhood flooded her memory as she remained standing by the window. She did not realize how much time had passed since she came to that window and started reminiscing until she heard the door open. Her brown eyes widened as she turned around. Rufus was standing by the doorway still dressed in his bloodstained clothes. Cloud was standing behind him and both of them were staring at Tifa curiously; however, Rufus was the one with the hard look on his face.

Cloud stepped away. "I should phone HQ about your arrival." He told Rufus before leaving the two of them alone.

Tifa breathed in, forcing a smile. "I'm glad you're alright." She said with a voice that seemed to have faltered in the end. For Rufus, it sounded like a choke. He shut the door and moved towards the dresser as if she was not even there. He began to undo the bowtie of his tuxedo.

She swallowed hard and approached him. "Look, I know I owe you an explanation but please don't act so cold towards me…" she began.

"I don't need to hear anything for now. I already knew about it this afternoon when we were attacked by the hooligans in Sector 3." He explained stiffly as he removed his blazer and just dropped it carelessly on the floor before moving on to his vest.

Tifa could tell that he was feeling unpleasant… close to very angry with her, because he would usually be neat with his things, but then at that moment, he just dropped his dirty blazer onto the floor. Without saying a word, she just ran over to it and picked it up and upon seeing the clothes hamper by the bathroom door, she threw it inside.

Yet she could not stand the silence. "I'm sorry if I didn't tell you. I couldn't. I did this for my parents… and for your mother as well. She's so nice to us and…" she trailed off, realizing that she could be making things worse around the two of them. "I'm sorry." She whispered, her look softening. She was suddenly afraid of him because she has not seen him acting like that before. She could feel that he is very angry but he is not saying anything. His silence made her feel further insecure about his feelings.

He removed his shoes and put on a pair of his bedroom slippers made of silk and satin. He was still thinking of what to say to her, on how he could tell her what he really feels; however, he was never really good with words whenever the issue has inner emotions involved.

Giving up, Tifa went over to the door connecting his room to hers. "Well fine, you don't want to talk, that's alright. I'll just quit this job now. But just so you know, I'm just glad to have ever been friends with someone like you." She said bitterly as she stepped back inside her room and shut the door.

Rufus just stood still, eyeing his own reflection in the mirror. He felt bad about himself but the look on his face remained stoic as usual. "Better do something if you don't want to lose her." He told himself sternly before taking a deep breath and went over to the door connecting his room with hers. He did not even knock; he just opened it and barged in, "Tifa, I…" he trailed off when he saw her dressed only in a black camisole. His eyes widened in bewilderment as he gaped at her.

Tifa, on the other hand, was on her way to the bathroom when the door connecting their rooms just burst open. She turned around to see who it was and she gasped and stepped backward when she saw Rufus gaping at her almost-nude form. "Blimey! Don't you know how to knock?" she demanded in annoyance before rushing inside the bathroom to lock herself up in there until he leaves.

But Rufus could not move. He just stood there, frozen in his spot, trying to comprehend the situation as it slowly sank into his consciousness. "Shit." He thought. His left eyebrow twitched as he turned around to go back to his own room.

From inside the bathroom, Tifa was just leaning against the door with her arms crossed while she listened for any sound that could be coming from her room. When she heard a door close, she breathed in and sighed in relief.

Meanwhile, in Rufus's room, he was using the intercom to call on Cloud.

Cloud answered rather grumpily. Rufus could tell that he had already fallen asleep but had woken up because of the intercom's sound. "Could you come to my room? I need assistance." Rufus told him.

"What is it this time? You found a cockroach in your bathroom?" Cloud asked sarcastically.

"Hah hah. Very funny, Strife." Rufus answered in sarcasm to get back on him.

Cloud hung up and in less than a minute, he entered Rufus Shinra's room.

"That was quick." Rufus remarked.

"My room is just across yours, remember?" Cloud asked as he crossed his arms. "And what is your pressing concern this time?" he asked as he yawned.

"It's Tifa." Rufus answered.

Cloud blinked. Suddenly he was completely awake. It was the first time Rufus has raised an issue regarding a girl. "I'm listening." He said as he took a seat on a couch by the window.

Rufus went to his dresser, faced the mirror and raked his fingers through his hair. "You know what's wrong. Now how do I apologize?" he asked.

Cloud eyed him in disbelief. "I have no idea!" he answered.

"Why not?" Rufus asked.

"Because it's Tifa!" Cloud answered.

"So what if it's Tifa? Is she a difficult person to talk to?" Rufus asked.

"Well for me, yes, I don't know about you." Cloud answered, looking away with a frown on his face. "And you woke me up for this? I gotta get some sleep, man." He said in frustration.

Rufus looked at him with a scrutinizing stare. "So you can't help me?" he asked.

"It's Tifa, alright? You know her more than I do, so use that knowledge to…uh… manipulate her mind like what you used to do with other people." Cloud answered half-heartedly.

Rufus's eyes widened at him. "Manipulate? How could you say such a thing?" he demanded.

"I can't think of another word." Cloud answered lazily as he yawned again.

Rufus grunted, feeling offended. "Is that how you think of me? Like how others see me?" he asked.

Cloud scratched his head. "The problem with you is that you're so obsessive-compulsive that you want things done quickly and in an organized ways. This is a relationship problem you're having with your girlfriend and I don't know what's really going on between the two of you and I don't want to give you any advice, because I might make things worse. Believe me, Rufus, you'll think of something. You can't always fix things in a day. Sometimes, you'll have to wait. Good night, Rufus." He said as he got up and left.

Rufus just stood still, thinking things through. He never thought that Cloud could say something like that to him, but he realized that maybe his friend was lacking sleep and was already getting cranky. With that, he went to the bathroom to freshen up and change into his pajamas. After spending almost 30 minutes in the bathroom, he went over to the door connecting his room with Tifa's. He inhaled deeply, held his breath for a moment, and then exhaled, maintaining a stoic expression on his face. He then grabbed the doorknob, slowly turned it, and pushed the door open. "Tifa." He said stiffly.

Tifa was already on the bed, ready to fall asleep, when Rufus barged in. "Now I remember what I forgot to do: lock that door." She was thinking miserably.

He went to her side.

"Whatever it is, I need to rest and wake up early to inform Mr. Valentine my resignation." She told him.

"You can't resign. How are you going to continue your studies?" the words just seemed to have flowed out from his mouth.

"I can just delay myself and enroll in a state college. I can manage." She answered grumpily.

"What about our projects?" he demanded.

She smiled sweetly at him, yet she had an air of sarcasm around her. "You're a very experienced businessman, Rufus, I'm sure you can get the highest grades and be the valedictorian of your graduating class." She said before lying down, turning to the other side so that she could not look at him anymore.

"You have to stay, Tifa. Remember, you owe my family a lot of things." He said haughtily, crossing his arms as he sat down on the bed.

She felt her heart sinking. "Oh damn. I forgot about that…" she thought silently.

"You just can't back-out now. My mother and father are counting on you to protect me. And we have a business to put up." He answered.

"So is this like a lifetime contract?" she demanded.

"Yes, I think so. If you're my personal bodyguard, you'll have to be around me. And you can't quit because if you do, you'll be disappointing your parents and my parents too." he told her, rolling his eyes as his lips curled into a sly smile. He was so satisfied with himself, yet he felt that making her feel guilty would only make things worse. But it was the only way he could think of to make her stay; besides, it was one of his techniques to make people do what he wanted them to do and he has been doing that ever since he was a little boy.

She sat up and faced him, smiling faintly at him. "Rufus Shinra. Don't think you can win me over by guilt-tripping me." She said.

Rufus sat still, narrowing his eyes at her. How did she know?

She breathed deeply. "Look, I'm so sorry if I didn't tell you. But if I had the chance, I would've told you sooner. I didn't think it would come to the point wherein there'd have to be an emergency situation for you to verify what you already suspected in the first place." She told him. It took a lot of effort and courage for her to speak up to Rufus like that, and while explaining to him, she thought that it was a nerve-wrecking experience.

They just stared at each other for a few moments before Rufus took the initiative to look away and pretend that he was not affected by what she said; even though deep inside, he was thankful that he was not the one who needed to apologize… well, for the moment anyway, because suddenly, he felt guilty for treating her badly moments ago. Yet he did not know what to say.

"You don't have to say anything." She said softly, as if knowing what he was reflecting on. She bowed down her head, smiling faintly. "I understand if you're upset. I guess it's really my fault. Although I'm not sure if making up for it would mean that I should stay around you against my will." She looked up at him again. "So I guess I'll have to forgive you for that and I hope you'll forgive me too. I know you understand." She said softly.

Rufus looked at her and kept his gaze into her eyes and the look on her face. He saw the sincerity in her eyes and wondered why it was making him feel as if his heart had skipped a beat and then started to sink down to his belly. He breathed in, keeping a straight face and then moved closer to her.

She froze when she just realized that he was already embracing her, pressing her tightly against him. She held her breath for a moment, thinking if she was in a parallel universe and he was starting to act strange.

Rufus never said anything; although he would want to verbally apologize, he could not bring himself to blurt out words of sorry. He just hoped that Tifa is sensitive enough to realize it from his actions.

She smiled gently and slowly wrapped his arms around him, because for some reason, to her, it just felt so right.

Rufus released and faced her with a poker-faced expression on his face. He wished he could express more of his emotions to her through the look on his face, but he was too insecure at the moment.

Just then, Tifa hesitated for a moment, but emotions took the best of her. She leaned forward towards him and pressed her lips against his in a gentle manner. But she did not want to see how he would look like, so she closed her eyes to just feel and cherish the moment.

Rufus's eyes, on the other hand, widened in awe, and he thought that his heart stopped for a moment; but he found himself slowly closing his eyes and wrapping his arms around her once more to bring her closer to him. Tifa was surprised when she realized that he had begun to return her kiss, and this time, prolonging it as if not wanting the moment to end. She suppressed a smile as she returned his embrace, wrapping her arms tightly around him.

Both were foreign to those strange feelings circling around them in the room, but they continued to kiss until someone just barged in. "Tifa, the First Lady called, she's asking if…"

The two froze when they recognized the voice. It was Cloud Strife.

They slowly turned to him; Tifa eyed him in surprise, while Rufus glared at him rather annoyingly because he deemed that his friend interrupted their moment.

Cloud cleared his throat.

"Yes, Cloud?" Tifa asked, trying to sound casual as she moved away from Rufus while refusing to make eye contact with Cloud.

"Uh…" Cloud was fighting the urge to smile and tease the two. "Mrs. Shinra called and she's asking if you're feeling okay. She says she'll call you by noontime." He told her.

Silence.

"Good. Are you finished now?" Rufus asked.

Cloud smirked. "Hell yeah." He said before eyeing the two of them with a mean look in his eyes. They could tell that he would be spreading the news to his other closest friends.

"I'll kill you if Sephiroth finds out about this, you…" Tifa began in annoyance, eyeing Cloud warningly.

Cloud raised his eyebrows at her. "Well you can definitely read minds!" he said sarcastically.

"Just get out of here. We'll talk in the morning." Rufus told him.

Cloud shrugged. "Sure, whatever. I just hope the two of you don't make too much noise enough to wake up the dead." He told them with a slight smile on his face before exiting the room.

Tifa got out of bed and took a deep breath, feeling so embarrassed. "Rufus, I think you should go back to your room." She said.

He blinked. "What? Why?"

"I am… not supposed to…" she began.

"Says who?" he asked as he got her hand and pulled her back to the bed.

She fell back on the bed, with her head on the pillow, and Rufus laid himself beside her. "If you're afraid of what people will say about the two of us being together, I'm telling you now that you don't have anything to worry about." He said softly with a reassuring tone. He had a faint smile on his face.

She stared at him for a moment, keeping her gaze into his blue eyes. She has never seen him looking so sincere at her like in that moment before. She smiled and nodded.

He moved closer to her to plant a kiss on her lips to silence her when he realized that she was going to say something else. He just wanted silence around them because in silence, they had always been able to understand each other much better. He wrapped an arm around her and pulled her closer to him. "Good night, Tifa." He said softly.

She breathed in his scent, relishing it in her senses. Who would have known that they both had been suppressing feelings for each other for a long time already? Especially in Tifa's case, wherein she had been secretly admiring Rufus Shinra ever since she was a little girl. In her childhood, she had always thought of him as a Prince, and she would imagine herself to be a Princess destined to be with him someday. Now everything seems to have fallen into place and she felt contented to be with him at the moment. "I love you." She just blurted out softly. She wanted to tell him about her fantasies about the two of them as a child, but she decided to save that for another time. She was already beginning to feel drowsy, so was he, and to sum up all her thoughts, she just decided to say those three words to him.

He smiled, pleased with himself and the fact that she was with him.

15 minutes before 3 in the morning, they had fallen asleep in each other's arms.

oOoOo

Author's Note: ugh… I think it ended so soon. Haha.