Tifa wishes that Cloud had a job worthy of his abilities and Reno decides to try to grant that wish...
Cloud entered the Seventh Heaven, back from his latest delivery. Tifa looked up from cleaning the counter and asked him how it went. The blond didn't have much to report, but some small talk occurred anyway. After Cloud went upstairs to wait for his phone to ring again with the call of another customer, Tifa couldn't help it but to shake her head at his retreating back. He was doing alright, which was fine really, but sometimes she wished he had a job more worthy of a hero. The sound of the doors opening got her out of her train of thought and she focused on the potential customer who had just arrived.
Reno sat in front of the counter muttering about something or other as he tried to decide what he wanted to eat, Tifa's cooking was just too delicious. Finally having decided what he wanted, Reno repeated the order twice before the distracted Tifa finally smiled and nodded, "I'll have it done in a minute," then she retreated to the kitchen.
"What's up?" Tifa jumped a bit and turned around to see Reno standing right behind her. She had not heard him follow her into the kitchen, a combination of her distraction with the quiet movements of a Turk, she assumed.
"Not much..." She decided to make small talk rather than point out that the kitchen area was for authorized personnel only. The Turks had become her most regular customers after all.
"I'm just curious, cause you're all gloomy and stuff. Is it something you caught from Cloud? I thought he quit being emo, he looked normal when I saw him at the WRO HQ yesterday," Reno recalled.
The statement made Tifa remember what Cloud had mentioned the previous day about Reno pestering him while he tried to get a few things done for Reeve, but she decided not to further ask about it. Reno would surely have his own version of the events which, if Tifa had to guess, wouldn't be quite as close to reality as Cloud's, though perhaps only Reeve would be willing and capable to tell the story like it was without the slight editing of embarrassment prevention instinct. "Cloud is fine, I just wish..." Tifa cut herself off at that, noticing the shining curiosity in Reno's eyes. He was good at keeping Shinra and Turk secrets, but anything she might tell him were neither, and thus he might not feel under the obligation to keep his mouth shut, especially to Cloud.
"You wish he'd pop the question already?" Reno took a guess, grinning mischievously. "Well, the president has been telling us to make ourselves useful. That's why I've been going by the WRO every now and then. But that's not the only way to help Edge, the city is its citizens after all, Rufus said something like that. Anyway, that means it's your lucky day because I'll help you. I'll march right over to Cloud and-"
"No!" Tifa interrupted. "Whatever crazy plan is forming on your head, don't do it. Besides, that wasn't what I was going to say. As nice as it would be, I'm not going to pressure Cloud to do anything in a rush, I can wait." Tifa hurriedly explained, hoping that Reno would be convinced to stay out of it. He opened his mouth to speak and she immediately knew he was far from giving up. Yet before the redhead could insist on offering his assistance, the bar tender spoke first. "I appreciate you wanting to help but it's best to let things happen naturally." And because she knew that Reno wouldn't stop pestering her until she gave him something to mull over, she revealed the truth behind her distraction and sad sighs in the kitchen. "I was just thinking that it would be nice if Cloud could have a job that's more fitting for a man of his caliber."
"But Don Corneo is dead and I don't know who else would be daring enough to-"
"No!" Tifa yelled. "Whatever you were going to suggest, erase it from your mind!"
"Tifa?" Cloud's voice came from upstairs. "Is everything okay?" The question was followed by heavy footsteps heading to the first floor before an answer was given.
"Yes, everything's fine," Tifa called back as she exited the kitchen with Reno's prepared dish on hand. "It's just Reno being Reno."
"Oh..." Cloud appeared at the bottom of the steps, "just Reno..."
"Hey, what do you mean it's just Reno?" The redhead protested in indignation. "I'm a Turk! I'm dangerous! I could be blowing up the whole Seventh Heaven or arresting Tifa for past crimes against Shinra, or both!"
"Right..." Cloud rolled his eyes.
Not relenting, Reno attempted to continue arguing, though it didn't last long. "I could-"
"Sit!" At Tifa's voice accompanied by the sound of the plate being placed on the counter with silverware and a glass of his favorite drink next to it, Reno obediently sat down like a well trained puppy, and if he had a tail, Cloud was sure he would be wagging it.
"See? Once you get addicted to Tifa's cooking, she can order you to do whatever she wants," Cloud laughed.
Reno pouted and began to eat, "then why haven't you done what she wants you to do?"
Cloud raised a confused eyebrow. "What do you mean?"
Thinking fast, Tifa came up with an excuse, as she knew she couldn't say it was nothing when Reno had already put her on the spot and Cloud was staring at her expectantly. "The dishes, I meant to ask you to help me wash the dishes... When Reno is done eating that is," because really, all the other dishes were already clean.
"Oh, alright, I can do that," Cloud smiled.
Tifa smiled back, "thank you." Discreetly, she gave Reno a warning look.
The phone rang, sending Cloud upstairs to pick it up. He soon left on another delivery job, though he promised to help with the dishes as soon as he returned. After a while, Reno pushed his empty plate away with a satisfied expression. "You never told me," he reminded while holding up his glass for a refill, "what was it that you wanted Cloud to do for a job?"
Tifa filled Reno's glass with a concoction she mixed, a secret recipe he had begged to know the ingredients off and she had continuously refused. She sighed as she took the empty plate from the countertop along with the silverware. "It's nothing really, if he's happy that's all I need. It was a stupid thought." But she knew that the curious Turk wouldn't let the subject drop. At least it wasn't Elena, the blond would have pried everything and more out of her by now. Perhaps it was a sign that they had all become good friends. "I was wishing that he could do something more heroic."
"I completely agree!" Suddenly, Reno jumped up in a rush of excitement. "Tifa, you have to talk to Rufus and Tseng! I've been telling them that we need some excitement around here. They say that people want peace, but I know they're wrong, the people of Edge want adventure! If you tell them I'm right they might listen to you!"
"Stop!" Tifa demanded, reading Reno's plan in his eyes. "I'm not going to support Shinra or anyone causing trouble for the sake of creating an adventure or giving a hero a job!"
Reno frowned in disappointment and sat down quietly to finish his drink. After a while, he looked up from the glass again. "I'm still a Turk and now that the Turks are Edge's protectors it's still my duty to help you, no matter how uncooperative you are in letting my awesome plan go to waste. In a lesser scale, I can still arrange for Cloud to have a more heroic job."
"Actually, I think delivery boy is heroic enough," Tifa insisted, fearing the irreparable damage she might have caused by putting a silly idea into Reno's head. Then again, any idea would inevitably be infused with a certain amount of silliness if it was in Reno's head.
"Don't worry, this won't be anything over the top, but it will be heroic. I have a great idea!" Refusing to be discouraged, Reno left without revealing his idea and ignoring Tifa's warnings.
xoxox xox xoxox
That night, after the bar closed, Tifa couldn't sleep. She went downstairs for a glass of water and thought she saw someone exiting through the front door. The person was tall enough to be a grown man, so it couldn't have been Denzel or Marlene, but he didn't have Cloud's characteristic hair style. Whoever it was had a key and no need to actually break in. Tifa reasoned that it might have been a Turk, as Shinra had their ways of getting keys to any building on Edge and the whole breaking into private property thing wasn't their new style, yet she would imagine Reno arguing that it wasn't breaking in if he had a key. She looked around and found nothing missing, taking no care to look beyond a glance, the Turks had no reason to steal from her anyway. Then a terrible thought occurred to her and she wondered if Reno or someone had snapped and decided to blow up the Seventh Heaven. She hastily grabbed her phone and called Reno. He answered with a yawn, pretending he was sleeping, but it was so big and theatrical that Tifa knew it had to be fake. "What were you doing at my house, and don't bother saying it wasn't you."
"Wow... You're good, you should be a Turk..." Came Reno's voice from the phone.
"Reno..." Tifa warned between clenched teeth.
"I didn't do anything bad, you'll thank me tomorrow!" He hung up, leaving a terrible sense of dread in the air.
xoxox xox xoxox The next day, Tifa found that the kitchen sink was clogged with some strange gunk that looked suspiciously like glue. A book about plumbing was left at the mailbox which Cloud, all in good intentions and ignorant of the cause of all this, decided to put to good use. After he failed miserably to fix the sink while customers came and went to eat breakfast and lunch, and the dirty dishes continued to pile up, the delivery boy finally decided to give up, swallow his pride and call a professional plumber. The plumber poured an odd liquid down the sink, after repairing the pipes which Cloud had further messed up in an attempt to solve the problem, and the sink was finally fixed, leaving only the matter of the plumber's bill, which Cloud, embarrassed at his ineptitude as a handyman, insisted on paying in full himself.
xoxox xox xoxox
It was mid afternoon when Reno stepped into the Seventh Heaven, to be greeted by the deadly glare of an angry Tifa. Cloud had recently stepped out on a delivery, leaving Tifa to openly scold Reno. "What were you thinking sabotaging my sink?" She demanded to know. "Is this what you call helping? And what was with that book on plumbing? Why in the world did you decide that Cloud should be a plumber? Don't tell him this, and I mean it, don't you dare say I told you this, but he has no aptitude what so ever for dealing with pipes! He often blew up the wrong one on our early missions of sabotage back with Avalanche! Is this some sort of delayed revenge from Shinra?"
Reno frowned and backed away slowly. "I was only trying to help! You see, Rufus was recently on a diplomatic meeting with some princess from a distant land. While we were visiting her kingdom, we heard all sorts of stories about a heroic plumber that rescued her and they ended up getting engaged. I thought that if Cloud became a plumber he would be more heroic, at least according to the Mushroom Kingdom, and then he would have the courage to propose to you!"
Tifa wanted to rip Reno's head off there and then, but she let out a breath and restrained herself. "Let me show you something..." She paused and ordered, "stay," which made Reno stand up straight and become rooted to the spot. She retreated upstairs and returned with a letter. "Read this," she handed the paper over to Reno.
Reno silently read, muttering a few words here and there, a habit that most grade school teachers and librarians would disapprove of during silent reading time. Finally, he finished and handed the paper back to Tifa. "So that old lady's son was on the Gelnika when it sank..."
"That's right, her delivery request was peculiar because she didn't give Cloud an item for him to deliver, but asked him to pick something up and safely deliver it," Tifa explained. "He talked to Reeve and borrowed a submarine," which the WRO probably borrowed from Shinra. "Then he went to the sunken remains of the Gelnika, which are completely flooded by now. He used materia to be able to make his way in and recovered her son's bag from the crew area. In it, there was a letter he never sent. Thankfully, the bag was made of a material that resisted water, so its contents were dry. That young man was proud to be a Shinra cadet and though he disapproved of many of the old president's actions, he claimed to have new hope for Shinra under Rufus' direction. He was sure that Shinra would be reformed, I don't know how he could have known, but somehow, he just knew. The lady wrote that letter I showed you to Cloud explaining everything and thanking him, as you just read."
"You know what else?" Tifa continued, "Reeve heard about it and was touched by the story. He called earlier and spoke to Cloud for a while, then called him to make another delivery. After Cloud left, I talked to Reeve on the phone for a little longer and he told me about all the important deliveries Cloud had made. The restoration of the world is not an easy process and sometimes there's so much riding on getting the right materials delivered on time, more than I ever imagined. Not everyone would take a delivery job seriously or take care of the packages the way Cloud does. Even if receiving the package may not exactly be a life or death situation, it may still feel that way for people, and in some extreme cases, it might really turn out to be that vital. Cloud is a hero to those people in his own way, in a sense, everyone is when they decide to do their very best. Most importantly, Cloud is my hero, I see that clearly now. That's also why I'm going to forgive you for all the trouble you caused, after all you were only trying to do your duty, to be a hero in your own way... just don't do it again."
Reno smiled, "alright, I won't try to make chocobo head more heroic anymore, besides, there's no way he could be as heroic as me!"
Tifa grinned with a gleam in her eyes that made every mental alarm Reno had scream in his head. "Since you're so heroic and it is your duty to help the citizens of Edge, I'm sure you wouldn't mind assisting me with a little something, right?"
"Um... right..." His survival instinct was telling Reno to run away as fast as he could, but he could only helplessly follow Tifa into the kitchen.
"Since the sink has been out of commission all day, the dishes have been piling up," Tifa motioned towards a rather scary looking mountain of dirty dishes. "I'm so happy the Turks are here to help the good citizens of Edge, I don't know what I would have done if you weren't here to do the dishes for me." Tifa smiled with a predatory expression that told Reno that if he dared to refuse her request, her fist would be quick to find his face.
Reno gulped. "I'm... happy to help... just... doing my duty..." he grimaced.
Tifa smiled, savoring the moment, "how heroic."
xoxox xox xoxox
Later, at the WRO HQ, when Cloud and Reeve were alone in the latter's office, he inquired, "did you ask her?"
Cloud shook his head. "I haven't even bought a ring yet," he confessed. "I ended up using the money I saved to pay the plumbers bill after I made things worse when I was trying to fix the sink." Of course, he had no idea how the sink got messed up in the first place. "Maybe this is a sign that I'm just not ready, I mean, isn't a good husband supposed to be capable of doing stuff to help his wife around the house? I couldn't even fix the sink!"
"Don't let it get to you," Reeve consoled. "Tifa is a very patient and understanding lady, I'm sure she doesn't mind if you're not an expert plumber. Besides, if you're willing to help her around the house without complaint, I'm sure she appreciates that."
"I guess..." Cloud let out a breath, unconvinced.
Reeve patted him on the shoulder for support. "Keep your hopes up, when the time is right to take the next step, I'm sure everything will fall into place!"
"Yeah..." Cloud nodded, he had promised himself, Tifa and the memory of Aeris that he wouldn't be pessimistic anymore. He just had to believe in Reeve's words. Maybe now wasn't the right time, but when the time came, somehow, some way, everything would fall into place. He just needed to be patient, perseverant and never lose hope, then maybe one day, he would finally become Tifa's personal hero...
It's been ages since I last posted a story to this fandom, this one turned out a bit longer than I thought, since it was only supposed to be a mini drabble and it also wasn't supposed to have that cheesy life lesson it ended up having, but I guess that's not so bad. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the story! If you have the time, visit my site for pixels, art and fun stuff. Also, feel free to add me on Twitter, Instagram or any of the other places listed on my profile and my site.
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