A/N – this song fanfic is dedicated to Hyde of L'arc en Ciel and Tegoshi Yuya from NewS..though they won't be reading it anyway. I don't own them or Final Fantasy characters and the song I used to make this fanfic. Somebody else owns them...
The barmaid just glanced around the bar as the crowd was cheering on the band performing that night. She smiled as she saw the stoic face of Cloud as the vocalist who seemed to be in the world of his own. Tonight, he played the guitar like always. Zack, the bassist was teasing the crowd with his bouncy performance while Vincent as the lead guitarist practically didn't care about a thing happening around him. Cid, the drummer was beating the drum as he known the song they performed by heart.
That was the AVALANCHE; the uprising band that had currently made the bar she worked at became popular in just a few weeks and her boss seemed to be happy that the bar made a lot of profit. "Get me some wine," Scarlet said to the barmaid that had just worked in her bar for about a month.
"Here's Corel wine for you ma'am," Tifa said as she placed a glass of wine on the counter. Tifa knew that her boss was fond of Corel wine since she started to work there. Before working at this bar, she worked for 2 bars for the past 6 months and ended up being fired every time. And each time involved a perverted man, the well-known playboy; Don Corneo.
Scarlet took a sip of the wine and indulged every taste of it. She was enjoying this, each night her bar would be full-housed whenever this AVALANCHE band performed. She had to thank the new barmaid for introducing this band to her. "Tifa," she called as she lightened her cigarette.
"Yes ma'am?" Tifa looked at the sexily dressed woman sitting in front of her. "How much sale are we making tonight?" Scarlet enquired. "I haven't get the real amount yet since there are still sales going on," Tifa tried to roughly guess the sale tonight. Scarlet just let out a seductive laugh and puffed out some smoke from her red lips.
"Good, keep it up," she said with a satisfied smile. Tifa just nodded in acknowledgement.
There was a pause after the song was performed and then, the voice of the vocalist echoed in the bar. "The next song goes out to all of the barmaids in the house." The crowd cheered as they started to order more drinks. He eyed every one of them and landed his eyes on a particular girl leaning against the counter. "Good job, Cloud!" He heard one of them shouted.
Tifa just gave him a thumbs-up when Cloud looked at her direction. Cloud nodded before he turned to the rest of the band members and they started the next song. Cloud had known Tifa since they were from Nibelheim and they were neighbours. When he first migrated to Midgar, he met Zack; the bassist who saw him played the guitar and decided to form a band. It was actually Zack's idea.
Then, they came across Vincent who soon became the lead guitarist and Cid, the drummer who cursed every time he opened his mouth and he breathed tobacco's smoke instead of oxygen for life. Pretty soon, AVALNCHE started performing in any place they could before the owner of the bar, Scarlet hired them. It was due to Tifa's courtesy they got a place to play each week.
"Hey there sexy," a familiar voice that had became the source of Tifa's misery rang in her ears. "Hey, there Don," Scarlet greeted him in a playful manner. 'Not this one too!' Tifa sweat dropped as she saw Scarlet joked around with Don Corneo. It seemed like Don Corneo was a one of a kind pervert. He managed to find Tifa each time Tifa was fired from the previous bars.
Don Corneo stole a glance at the barmaid that was talking to Scarlet before he came. He was searching for her. He wanted her to be his girlfriend but the girl seemed to reject him each time just because he didn't get the hunch that normal girls hated perverts. Tifa just ogled her eyes from the pervert and made her way to leave the two of them alone.
"A new barmaid?" he pretended to ask Scarlet who was head over heels for him. He wasn't the type of guy that girl drooled for his look but for his money. He was proud when he could use these women to fulfil his needs just by spending some money on them. That was why he couldn't accept it when Tifa rejected him. She was the first woman to reject him and she was a girl from a small town.
Scarlet acted as if she was sulking when she heard him asked her that. "I thought I'm the only one?" Scarlet said and Don Corneo just smiled while pulling her closer to him. "I was just wondering. I saw her worked at several bars before this," he whispered to her ear and it made Scarlet giggled.
"She was but enough talk about her," Scarlet curled her hands around him and pressed herself to him.
"I just don't get it what does these women see in that old-fart," Tifa murmured under her breath as she was wiping some wine from the counter. "Oh, I forgot. Those women are too blind to see a pervert walking around them. I wish someday he would fall into a manhole and got lost in it. So that he won't make my life miserable anymore," Tifa cursed and it caught attention from Cloud who had just finished performing and was making his way towards her.
"Give me the hardest one and who's miserable?" He asked as he took a seat in front of her. "Me," Tifa sounded annoyed. "Who caused it?" he was getting interested; he always enjoyed making her annoyed ever since they were little children. "The oldest fart in history ever knows, Don Corneo the Pervert," she replied.
"Looks like he can't forget his first love," Cloud teased the brunette who snapped her head to him with a death glare especially for him. Cloud knew about Tifa's little problem with Don Corneo but he thought the guy was harmless. "I'm going to put poison in your drink someday," she warned Cloud. "You wouldn't. You can't live without me," Cloud mocked and it made Tifa more pissed.
"Maybe I would!" She raised her voice and shoved him the drink before retreating to the back. She needed to get away from everyone before she exploded. She could hear the evil laugh came from Cloud echoing in her mind though he never let it out and saw the most disgusting scene between the pervert and her boss. "I wish I didn't see that. Now I will have a nightmare about an old rag making out with an old fart for a week."
"Look, we don't need a manager for this one," Cloud said as he looked at the petit brunette in front of them who seemed to be bouncing around the room ever since she got the contract from a recording company.
"Are you kiddin' Cloud? You're gonna be famous! Everyone will watch you and admire you! And you guys are gonna owe me big time for it!" Yuffie was practically screaming as she talked. Cloud looked around the room to ask help from his band members.
"I don't have any problem with it," Vincent said when Cloud turned to him. Cloud looked at Cid, "I've already had enough problems. Don't give me another one." Cloud couldn't believe it! Does everyone else agree with Yuffie?
"Yeah, I think we would need her help since she went to talk to the recording company and all," Zack suddenly said and it made Yuffie yelped out in extreme happiness. "The group leader has decided to take me as your manager! There's nothing you can do about it Cloud! Ha! Ha!" Yuffie let out an evil laugh.
Cloud just looked away in defeat as he knew that there would be more trouble when Yuffie became their manager. "Whatever."
"Okay, so tomorrow at exactly 12 pm, be at the front of the Shinra Recording Company building. We're going to sign the contract," Yuffie started her job as the manager of the group. She took out a pile of papers and started to distribute them to the guys.
"I made some copies of the agreement. Make sure you go through it before you come to the Shinra building," Yuffie was smiling as she talked. Cloud looked at the paper in his hand. Maybe assigning Yuffie wouldn't be as much trouble as he thought it would be. She seemed pretty swift with her job.
"Oh, another thing, did you guys have clothes for tomorrow?" Yuffie asked them. There was a long pause in the room. "Duh, we're wearing it now," Zack said as a matter of fact. Yuffie made a disbelief face.
"Oh no no, you're not wearing that tomorrow!" She started pulling each one of the guys to get up and out of the room. "We're getting something new for each and every one of you. For god's sake, we're gonna make a deal tomorrow. You don't get such chance everyday!" Yuffie started to babble and Cid just blew out a breath as he lit up a cigarette.
"And first impression is very important! You have to give a good impression on the people there!" Yuffie continued although nobody was listening to her. Vincent just closed his eyes as soon as he entered the car and was soon fell asleep.
Zack who was sitting next to the non-stop talking Yuffie made a save-me face as he turned to Cloud. Cloud just gave him a confused look and thought silently, 'Talk to him more, babbling Wutai girl. After all he was the one who think he needed you for this.'
"This is all crap," Cid said as they sat the bar to go through the agreement. "Yeah, I have to agree with you," Zack was practically laughing as he read the agreement. "I mean look at it. 'No night clubbing, don't get involve with band mates romantically.' What do they think we are? A bunch of instruments-playing gays?" Zack was hysterical.
"They're acting like mothers," even Vincent thought the agreement was a little ridiculous. "We can't get married, we can't accept any performance without their approval and we have to live in the same house?" Cloud made a shocked face.
"I ain't gonna live with guys ever. I'd rather bite my tongue and die," Cid followed finished his sentences with a series of curses in three different languages.
"These are the rules for new band like us. Usually, band members have other places where they can live peacefully and the house is just a place to get together. After a year, we'll sign another contract with different agreement," Vincent explained.
"Really? How'd you know about it?" Zack looked interested suddenly. "Yuffie told me a few things about it," Vincent replied and it made Zack's eyes lit up. "I sense romance between you two," Zack teased as he nudged Vincent.
"There's nothing between us. Not like what you think," Vincent shoved Zack from him. "Oh ho ho, he's shy! Everyone, Vincent's shy!" Zack announced and it made a few customers turned their heads. "Be quiet! You're attracting unnecessary attention," Vincent said as he went to the counter to get a drink for him.
"Oh, come on!" Zack called him but Vincent just ignored him. Cloud soon followed Vincent and met Tifa. "Like a man can control his hormones," Vincent heard Cid said before he joined to laugh with Zack.
"So, you got the contract?" Tifa asked as soon as the two musicians took their seats respectively. Cloud nodded. "Congrats! I knew you guys can pull that one off!" She said enthusiastically. "Thanks Tifa. The usual please," Vincent said.
"But, you need to talk to Scarlet about it," Tifa reminded them. "We did and it wasn't easy and ugly," Vincent replied as he put his head in his hand with a sigh.
Tifa raised a brow in a questioning manner but her hands started mixing the drink for Vincent right away. "That's because Yuffie brought us shopping for the whole day," Cloud simply said on Vincent's behalf. Inside, Vincent was glad at least someone in the band understood him.
Tifa could imagine the four of them went for shopping with Yuffie. She must have been dragging them all over the place.
"Don't tense up. Come on, it's just the beginning," Tifa tried to cheer up the exhausted man before her. "I'm not. I'm sleepy," Vincent said. Tifa chuckled at his behaviour. "Here you go," she gave a glass of wine to Vincent.
She turned to Cloud and gave him his drink, "The hardest for the vocalist. They're both on the house," Tifa whispered just loud enough for them to hear her. She would get into trouble if Scarlet found out about it.
"Thanks Tifa," they said in unison and took a sip of their drink. Out of the blue, Cloud choked out and looked into his drink. "What is this?" he asked between his cough. "Raisins?" he was confused. "No one put raisin in their drinks," he thought out loud.
"I know but I just wanted to put some in yours. It's the most disgusting thing I could find in the kitchen. For the other night," Tifa smiled innocently but Cloud could see she was getting back at him. Vincent just let out a small smile at the two childhood friends' behaviour.
"You're impossible," Cloud complained as he fished out the remaining raisins in his glass. 'It's not nice to waste good drinks especially if it's on the house.' Tifa continued to smile before walking away, "I'll take that as a compliment thank you."
"Raisins?" Vincent was frowning. "At least she could put something else much more disgusting than that," he added as he watched Cloud took out the raisins from his drink.
"And she was the one who has something against raisin," Cloud told Vincent who just sweat-dropped. "What was she thinking?" Cloud just shrugged his shoulders.
"For someone who had so many admirers back in Nibelheim, she sure can be so evil. No wonder they don't dare to come any closer than just friends," Cloud said as he finished his drink. "At least you know she's not the type who just let people bully her," Vincent said.
Cloud just nodded before a barmaid came to them. "Someone gives this to you Cloud. They're looking forward for your performance tonight," she said as she pointed to a direction. Cloud turned with creased brows and saw a group of girls smiled to him as they raised their glasses to him. He just nodded in return.
"Gongaga brandy? I hate it," Cloud murmured as he landed his eyes on the glass. "You drink it," he gave the signal to Vincent. Zack was from Gongaga. "Now Cloud, you know what it means when someone buy you a drink but you give it to someone else," Vincent refused to drink it. It wasn't his favourite either.
"What does that mean anyway?" Cloud turned to Vincent. Vincent thought for a moment before meeting Cloud's eyes. "I'm not so sure myself," Vincent's answer made them wondered who made the stupid rule.
"Just drink it. We're on in 10 minutes," Vincent reminded Cloud. Cloud took the glass in his hand and drank the content in a single gulp while making a disgusting face. After finishing it, he quickly got up to go to the backstage just in time before the girls could make their way to him.
"Bloody hell, it even smells like Zack," Cloud felt disgusted. Vincent just let out a small smile but deep down he knew that Cloud and Zack were closer than brothers.