a/n: Sorry for the delay! I thought I had lost this when I updated my windows, but I found it and here's one half of the chapter done. I'll get to the next one as soon as possible. ^_^ Sorry for the delay again.




Rufus' Reign:

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Chapter 5: Quick Behind

He had been cut with the knife of jealousy and frustration. He did not expect the reaction of his best friend when he risked his life to save hers. And knife sunk deeper and deeper by the hour as Barret bragged about the point that he was trying to point out earlier. Sinking until all it is, was now anger and revenge.

His glum mood and dark facade was now clashing against the sun-filled day. Costa Del Sol, the place where the sun never falls; a party town.

It was his every intention to come back for her, and here was the place he could have another chance. Hitching a ride from a Shinra vessel, they masked themselves as soldiers and carefully fit themselves with the others. They made it in town, almost without any worry. Barret almost got them caught, but things were fixed and before ship could cancel docking in Costa Del Sol.

While the others blabbed about what they're plans for this afternoon was and how fun it was going to be for them, Cloud kept himself intent and focused as to where his friend and the bastard was at the moment. He left Barret, Aeris, and Red XIII in their own little worlds, while he thought hard of plans and mainly the death of the bastard who made him lose his friend.

Oh Cloud was angry...

His eyes were downcast, his golden tufts of hair giving his mako-eyes an eerie glow over the shadow they created, his lips pursed tightly, and his hands clenched shut--its knuckles white. He walked to the small bridge in the main center of town and spotted the beach up ahead.

Eyes grazing around the white sand and blue shores, they soon came to halt at the sight he had been looking to see. You could almost see his eyes fill in grief.
~

Her full body, in a two piece baby-blue swimming suit and a short, yellow sash tied around her waist, Tifa inhaled the cool-fresh breeze that the beautiful oceanic view was giving her. She stood at the edge of the shore line, her feet in ankle-high seawater, she placed her hands on her waist and adjusted the dark-blue sunglasses over her eyes--giving her a 'blue-world' view of her surroundings.

Still standing on her spot, she gazed over the almost-perfect beach area and sighed happily, wondering how she had gotten there in the first place.

It was romantic of Rufus to suggest that the two of them should have a week's vacation in Costa Del Sol. He specifically recommended it, even though the threat of Sephiroth's attacks had been becoming more frequent.

So starting today, Tifa was going to tan, pamper, and spoil herself until she dies out of happiness.

Though, she is still aware that Cloud had reminded her that he had not given up. She couldn't understand why the man could not respect what she wanted with her life, just the hint that in some way he is jealous.

Tifa dulled her look over the ocean's horizon and removed her sunglasses off. She brought her hand up to her chest, feeling the reaction she didn't want to happen. Everytime the subject came up, her heart would flutter. She already knew that Cloud had an attraction to her, as she did before Rufus. It made her wonder why she couldn't just go to Cloud then. She knew well enough that falling in love and staying with Rufus was a dangerous and forbidden path, and that loving Cloud and staying with him would probably the easiest road in life she could take.

Yet, she stuck with Rufus.

She gave an involuntary sigh and slowly sat down, her knees pulled towards her chest comfortably and her hands supporting her back from behind her. She took that peaceful time to sort her thoughts. As she tucked the strand of mahogany hair from her eyes, she gazed down to the tiny pebbles of sand below her, and with her index finger, she drew out two names: Cloud and Rufus.

Leaning on her left elbow for support, her long single braided hair cascading down on the side of her face, Tifa began to give points out to the list of 'Better Qualities' she had just made in her mind.

A couple of minutes had passed, and the tally marks for each men where unbelievably close together that by the time Cloud had 10 and Rufus was about to get his tenth mark, Tifa sighed aggravatingly and gave a small curse under her breath. Giving up on her way to cure her indecisiveness.

"We're tied huh?"

Tifa's eyes bulged out as she recognized the voice, and with a brisk move she immedietly got rid of the writing in the sand. She looked up in shock and embarrassment, and she was met with a kind smile.

"Didn't know I could tie with an asshole like him. Or.. vice versa." Rufus stood over her in his white swimming trunks, speculating what was on the sand below him.

He almost felt sorry for disrupting her little thoughts as to what she was really doing in life.. or for this matter, who should she stay with: him or her best friend, as she squirmed on her spot, her face furiously red on the cheeks. He hadn't meant to interrupt her, or let her know that he saw what she was doing.

"I.. I.." Tifa struggled to say, her mouth suddenly becoming irratingly dry. She was still locked eyes to the blond man's hovering a few feet above hers; his lips still formed a light smile. It didn't look like he was disappointed to see her compare him to Cloud, but she just couldn't help but feel like she had been trying to steal cookies or something from him.

"Tifa.." he spoke softly, soothingly. He sat beside her, still in with her gaze, and took hold of her hand in his.

Tifa flinched at his sudden movement for her hand, instantly she sputtered to apologize, "I can explain! It's not.. I won't leave you! I was just.."

Rufus began to laugh, not mockingly, but more flattered, "It's okay, Tifa! I wasn't reading anything into it." he responded reassuringly. He felt his heart give tug at the face she gave him afterwards.

"But.. shouldn't you be?" Tifa asked in a low voice, "I mean.. you have every right to. I was judging you and him, and as to who was the better one." her face had been downcast and looked completely guilty as she stared up at him. "Don't you hate me for at least thinking that?"

The question shocked him, but Rufus willingly shook his head and pulled her closer to him, his arms snaking around the evenly tanned skin of her back, "You're still here with me. That's all I really need from you."

Tifa felt her cheeks flush again, but her face stayed pouted. Her guilt of lacking as much affection as he has for her was overpowering, "Why is it that.. you.. love me.. like that?" she asked in a whisper, her eyes trailing away from him and back to the sea's horizon.

Rufus looked down at her, turning uneasy at the great amount of uneasiness she had now.

"Why is it that.. you can't seem to get angry at me for anything? Usually, wouldn't the man be angry if his girlfriend compares him to another?" she continued on, not sure if she was making any sense with her words, but she was trying to clarify as best as can as to why Rufus loved her so adoringly.

"Well.. do you want me to be angry?" Rufus asked just as soft as hers, "Besides, why do I have to follow what those other men do at times like these? Obviously they can't respect a woman who is only questioning her heart and mind." he spoke defiantly, but can see that Tifa wasn't absorbing his point.

Lifting her face to greet his, he leaned over and planted a soft kiss on her lips, "My reason for loving you like this is because, I do. I love you so much that I don't want to ruin anything between us. I understand that you are still confused, but all it was is comparing. I don't need to yell at you for that. I don't need to be angry with you. I don't want to be angry with you ever."

Tifa furrowed her eyebrow, and thought to herself why she couldn't have feelings so strong just like his. She bit her lip and leaned in closer to him. She was now sitting in between his open legs, her head in the crook of his neck and shoulder, and her arms around him on his back. She didn't want to let him go.

Rufus willingly opened his arms for the embrace, and held onto her gently. He could only imagine how confused she really was, and he was lucky enough to still have her with him.

"I'll never leave you." Tifa whispered, knowing how true her words really were. Even if she wasn't sure what she was really doing, she didn't want to leave this--his love--for anything.

Placing his cheek affectionately on the side of her face, Rufus held her tighter as they sat silently in each other's arms in the dimming sunset.
~

And he watched with overbearing jealousy and hate as the beautiful scenery of his best friend contemplating was soon polluted by the enemy. He had the sudden urge to surprise the couple and get his plan over with before the sun disappeared in the horizon. Conveying the area around him, he found much of the beach dwellers were now leaving and then would be the perfect time to attack.

Smirking, Cloud took a step closer as he persueded his new plan but soon stopped as someone came before him, standing over his height easily and eyeing him behind dark sunglasses and a black suit.

"Get the hell out of my way." Cloud gritted his teeth at his visitor.

Tseng smirked at the boy and held up a hand as a sign of pardon, "Mr. Strife, Tseng of the Turks. Glad to finally meet you in person." he spoke sneeringly.

Cloud looked at him between narrowed eyes, "What's a Turk doing associating with Avalanche? Don't you have anything better to do.. like let's say, kill innocent people?"

"Hear me out, Strife, I'm only doing this for my benefit that just happens to be also yours." Tseng spat, removing his dark shades and revealing a similar pair of eyes, "You want your Ms. Lockheart back, and I want her out of Shinra. I hope it isn't any inconvenience that I am willing to associate in your little.. scenario into getting her back to you."

Surprised but at the same time very interested, Cloud gave a smirk, "If you are serious, Tseng, I believe we could have an agreement in our hands. Otherwise, get the fuck out the way."

Tsend gave a disturbed smile, "No need for that 'Otherwise'. I'm sure you'd be delighted to agree with me."



~Review Pleaze TY~
Next Chapter: Quick Behind p2
Review: Turks wants her out, Cloud wants her back; so they decided to work together. Now why wouldn't this be a great deal for the both sides? Find out next chapter!