Desc. Finally having given up on Cloud, Tifa carefully guards the secret of her new-found love and his identity. One-shot, rated M for safety. Post AC. TifaXmystery character. All Characters are from game.

Disclaimer: I do not own or profit from FFVII or any of its characters. I simply like to play with them.

I seem to be addicted to FFvii for the moment. There doesn't seem to be much of this pairing, but I enjoyed putting them together.


fire mystic


Tifa stood behind the bar using cleaning glasses as a front for watching her various friends watch and worry about her. They felt sorry for her, all of them. Well, all of them except Cloud. Ironically, he was the reason they felt sorry for her. None of them said anything to Cloud, but they occasionally mentioned it on the sly to her, expressing their sympathy for her unrequited love for Cloud and encouraging her to either face him about it or to move on and let it go. They worried that she would spend her life pining over Cloud and doing nothing more but tending that bar and taking care of orphans, and never know what it was like to experience passion or have that love returned.

She let them worry about her, making the occasional allusion to how hurt she was by Cloud's constant silent rejection. In her own way, without ever saying it directly, she even confronted Cloud about it. It wasn't good for him to continue mourning people who were no longer with them at the cost of living in the now, and she tried to make him see that whenever the opportunity arose. Even Cloud looked at her sadly, as if he knew the pain he caused, but couldn't do anything about it.

But letting them all, including Cloud, think this about her meant they never suspected anything else.

If they only knew the truth.

She had pined after Cloud. For a very long time, she waited for him to fulfill the promise he had made to her as a boy, and although she would be among the first to admit he fought the good fight, she had long ago given up on his promise, and him. His heart belonged to others, Zack first, and then Aerith. Tifa knew that it would always be that way, even if Cloud eventually found someone else, and when it came to her own pleasure and her own passion, Tifa wasn't willing to take second place. While it hadn't been easy to let go of her childhood crush on Cloud, she had done it and had been rewarded with finding someone who gave her what she needed.

Not that she would ever admit it to anyone in Avalanche; or anyone else for that matter.

A year ago, she had taken a long-deserved vacation, leaving the children with Barret. After all, Cloud couldn't be trusted to hang around long enough to watch them. She had gone off on her own with the intention of doing some soul-searching, a vision quest of sorts.

What she discovered on that vacation had changed her life, and although her beliefs had remained intact, there was now a serious exception to them, an exception that would remain her most private secret for as long as she lived.

She had compromised herself, her beliefs, and no one could ever know about it. But what she got in return was so much more valuable to her.

So she covertly watched them watch her, whisper about her, and did everything she could to play the part.

Oh, how her lover would appreciate that.

When they finally filtered out of Seventh Heaven, she breathed a deep sigh of relief. Yuffie had been the last to go. Yuffie, who was always quick with a smile and a hug, whether you needed it or not. She was going to have to be careful of Yuffie, because if there was anyone who might sense things were not as they appeared, it would be her. While she was a bit of a klutz, she had a way with people and a way with reading them. Yes, she would have to be careful with Yuffie.

She waited. Waited to be sure they wouldn't come back, to be sure the children were asleep, to be sure Cloud, who was in his own bed for the first time in weeks, was asleep. Then she slipped silently into the dimly lit streets and made her way to the outskirts of town.

She found the rough cave entrance as if it were second nature, needing nothing more than the light of the moon to guide her. Once inside, it was dark, but she felt her way against the wall as she always did, until after about fifty paces and a bend in the tunnel, a pale illumination lit the way. The faint blue light certainly wasn't natural, but it remained low. Whether this had been a more important passage at one point, Tifa wasn't sure, but now it was hardly ever used. For all she knew, she was the only one who used it. Well, her and possibly one other.

She made her way down beneath the surface, moving faster now that she could see. She finally came to a more structured passageway, its walls smooth, the lighting more consistent. There were many doors along this hallway, but she ignored them all. All except one.

When she reached it, she wrapped a knuckle against it four times. It was barely audible, and she wondered that anyone could here it, but there was an answering "enter" from beyond the steel.

The room was comfortable, if sparse. There was a bed in one far corner, neatly made, and a worktable with a chair in the other. There was a shelf of books near the bed and a comfortable chair sitting almost directly opposite the door with a small table beside it.

He was sitting in that chair, legs crossed, a book casually propped in his hands. He waited until she had closed the door before glancing up at her. He snapped the book shut and set it aside on the table, and then turned his attention back to her.

"You are most lovely this evening, Miss. Lockhart."

As if his gaze were not enough to do it, his voice swept her breath away and left her weak. She leaned back against the door to hide the fact that her knees were turning to jelly.

This was the effect he always had on her.

He stood, sweeping to his feet in a flourish, the speed combining with his height and a slim, well muscled body for an intimidating effect that had Tifa shrinking back into cold, unyielding metal. He paused, humor reflected in his bright eyes. He knew when she was intimidated and was always amused by it.

"Come to me."

It was a form of play for him, to know she was weak with want and yet make her work for it. She pushed away from the door, nearly collapsing, but managed, step by wobbly step, to present herself within arms distance before him.

He moved that one step closer to her, a hairs breath from touching her. It brought their height difference into harsh perspective; she would have to crane her neck to see his face, his eyes. He circled her slowly, so slowly, his long duster brushing lightly against her now and again. She wanted more. He could sense how much more she wanted, but he kept his hands locked firmly behind his back. Finally he stood before her again, her gaze locked on his chest.

"Look at me, Love." Lust made here eyes shine almost as brilliantly as his when she met his gaze. The knowledge of how he made her feel churned within him like a sweet-won victory. He lowered his mouth to hers, savoring the whimper that choked out of her throat as he kissed her. He teased her, not giving enough pressure, relinquishing a bit, and then pulling away just as her lips parted.

Tifa knew this game well. It was a game he often played. He wouldn't touch her, not until he had his victory, not until she touched him first. She fought it now, as she did every time, but soon realized that it was a battle she would win only by losing. What he didn't seem to understand was that she played the game just as much as he, waiting until the anticipation was painful before reaching up and wrapping her hands into the supple leather of his duster and drawing him down to her.

"Why do you make me wait?" It was what she always asked.

"Because it feels so good." He wrapped his arms around her, blissfully pulling her body into his. "Why do you wait so long?"

Her expression filled with false innocence, as she pulled him down to whisper against his mouth. "Because it feels so good." Their lips clung and opened then, their tongues seeking and sweeping sensually against one another.

When she returned to Seventh Heaven, sneaking in like an errant teenager, she would climb into her own bed, an hour to go before the children woke. She wouldn't be able to sleep, despite her lack of rest, even for that short time. His smell clung to her and her skin still tingled with his touch. She gloried in the soreness of her body and how completely satiated he had left her, at the scratchiness of her throat from the screams of pleasure he had repeatedly wrenched from her. And, till next they met, she would remember and silently repeat every word of poetry he had uttered to her afterwards as they lay in the darkness.

She loved him, yes, and it was so deliciously wicked.

Love for the Loveless.

No one could ever know.