Disclaimer: I don't own any of this. Not the characters, not the place, and certainly not the dress. I only own my twisted mind which came up with this idea (which I also own).
A/N: Heheh. I'm so mean to Cloud and Denzel, but I can't help it, they're just so much fun to torment. This was inspired by Spoonychan's Miss Cloud Tribute on YouTube as well as the song Cherry Lips, which is featured in the tribute. I swear to you, this will probably be a lot funnier if you watch the video first, or at least listen to the song while reading. I hope you enjoy!
Warning! This does contain mild cross-dressing... if you don't find that entertaining, I'd ask that you turn back now.
Tifa was standing behind Seventh Heaven's bar cleaning dishes and watching Denzel as he poured over the maps of Cloud's routes for the day's deliveries when Marlene traipsed down the stairs. "Hey Tifa," the young woman called softly as she twirled about the large room, "how come I've never seen you wearing this dress?"
The older woman didn't look up from the glass she was scrubbing as she responded. "Which dress Marlene?"
"The purple one," she heard the girl reply dreamily. Tifa paused as she placed the glass upon the counter and reached for a plate. Her brows furrowed in confusion as she fought to remember which particular item Barrett's daughter was speaking of.
"The purple one," she heard herself ask aloud.
"The one with the big red bow." That voice belonged to Denzel, and for some reason, hearing a male voice say something about the article just made something click.
"It couldn't be." Marlene stopped her spinning in front of the bar, exchanging a confused look with her friend at Tifa's words. When the woman finally looked up from her work she went red in the face and quickly brought a hand to her mouth to smother a laugh. Her reaction was enough to earn more baffled looks from her two wards. When she finally regained her composure she took a deep breath and said to Marlene, "You haven't seen me wear that because it's not my dress."
The young girl was clearly out of her depth. Her brown eyes narrowed in confusion as she tried to process what her foster-mother had just told her. Denzel was once more absorbed in Cloud's map, ignoring everything the two females were saying as he began jotting down figures on a piece of paper.
"But… I found matching lingerie with it... and a tiara. If it's not your dress, then who does it belong to?"
Tifa propped her elbow upon the counter, resting her chin in her cupped hand as she replied. "Cloud." The young woman was floored, to say the least, literally sitting down hard on the floor before casting an incredulous glance at the young man at the table as he continued to work, apparently not hearing a word of what was just said.
"Really?" Seventh heaven's proprietor nodded, smiling, as Marlene stared up at her in awe. "Why does he own a dress?"
"He and Aerith had to save me from this horrible man. It was the only way they could get him into the building. Looking back, it was rather amusing." She smiled fondly, apparently remembering the events that had occurred and Marlene worked on absorbing all the information she just been given.
After several moments the little brunette stood and brushed the dust from the soft purple material. "I'll go put this back," she said cheerfully, "I wouldn't want to make Cloud sad if something happened to it." For some reason this seemed to spark an idea in Tifa's mind and a devious smile grew upon the buxom woman's visage.
"Hold on a minute Marlene," she ordered holding up her hand to stop the girl before turning to the only boy in the room, "Denzel, about how long will it be until Cloud gets home?"
Blue eyes looked up at the inquiry before glancing back at the paper on the table. "About half an hour by my calculations," he stated plainly then glared warily at her, "Why?"
The devious smirk grew. "How would you guys like to surprise Cloud?" The two teenagers nodded eagerly and Tifa pressed her fingertips together in excitement. "Good! Marlene, go take the dress off and put it in my room, then go to that gym over on Silence Street and ask them for a brunette wig. Tell them it's a favor for Cloud Strife." The young woman nodded and ran upstairs to change into her street clothes.
Tifa watched until the last swirl of purple cloth disappeared around the corner before turning her attention to the unfortunate boy. "Denzel," she purred, "you come with me. We have a lot of work to do." The teenage boy frowned as his "mother" advanced: he didn't like the look on her face.
Cloud pulled Fenrir to a stop outside Tifa's bar, resting in the saddle for several moments, relaxing after the long drive back from Fort Condor. He sighed, removing his goggles and storing them in a hidden compartment before dismounting the customized bike and heading towards the front door hoping to get inside for some well deserved quiet, and maybe a little sleep.
His hopes were shattered the moment he entered the building. An anguished cry of, "CLOUD!" cut through his thoughts like a hot knife through butter and within seconds his sword was within his hands. Fears of another attack were brief, though, as a purple blur hurtled down the stairs, darting around behind him as more footsteps sounded on the stairs, "You've got to save me Cloud! They're insane!"
It took Cloud several moments to figure out who the strange girl asking for his help was, even longer to realize why the dress looked familiar. By the time his mind caught up with the rest of the world Tifa was standing before him, smiling cheerfully and innocently, while Marlene dragged a wailing Denzel from his hiding place behind his hero and out into the open.
"Tifa," the blonde found himself saying as he stared in disbelief at the trio before him, "what did you do?" The two women were grinning maniacally as the warrior took in the sight of the boy he'd rescued. The young brunette was standing sullenly, hands clasped before him in a, distinctly feminine, nervous gesture. He was wearing the purple dress Aerith had forced Cloud himself into all those years ago as well as a brunette wig, styled in much the same manner Cloud's had been, with a tiara perched proudly atop his head.
He gulped, arms going limp and letting his sword hit the floor. "You're wearing make-up," he finally said when he found his voice again. Denzel nodded miserably.
"She forced me to wear the lingerie too," he muttered.
"Oh…" Well, that certainly explained the sudden growth of the distraught boy's chest. A sudden heat spread across the man's features as he extended his hand to the boy. "Come on, I'll help you change. That bow is pure hell to un-do." The teen nodded again and made his way towards his bedroom, Cloud following close behind as the girl's collapsed into gales of amused laughter at both boys' expense.