I bring you another ZackTifa fic, which will most likely be a two-part(unless my imagination runs rampant and I decide to add more chapters, but it'll be a short story). This story was very much inspired by Grey's Anatomy, ideas shared with my writing buddy Aveira(thanks for that), and various songs I've been listening to the last week. I hope everyone enjoys and so far the only warning would be for language. It might change later on.
Disclaimer: I don't own Final Fantasy VII or any of the characters used in this piece of fiction. I am making no money off of them!
Knight in Shining Armor
Tifa Lockhart always prided herself on being early and on time to any appointment or errand she had pending, except that fate always had it's way of making her know that she wouldn't always have life easy. First, she had found a missing button on her uniform shirt. Then she had lost one of her boots. Then she couldn't get the fringe of her hair to go the way that she wanted it to, and she had been left to hold the hair back by a pin.
Once she had made it out of her apartment and towards her job at the small café a few blocks down, she let out a small sigh. Already she was running a few minutes behind. She had to pass the the entrance to the train station, and almost push herself through throngs of people trying to get to their jobs or wherever else they were headed. As she rushed down the street, she decided to take a detour from her original route and instead take a shortcut through the park, even though it didn't sound like much of a shortcut. Her mother had taught her to always be on time, no matter where she was going. But as of late, she'd had the worst of luck imaginable.
Rushing through the main path in the park, she passed a teacher with her class, most likely on a field trip, and smiled at how cute they all looked in their uniforms. Next she waved at the young man she saw every morning, walking the dogs of the neighborhood. Among the pets he usually walked were a huge Great Dane, two poodles, a couple of chihuahuas, and some dogs which she couldn't recall their breed. She was more of a cat person, but she wouldn't have minded having a small dog in her apartment, the only problem was that she didn't always have too much personal time. How would she take care of a pet? Thanks to her daydreaming, she wasn't watching where she was going and walked right into a traffic jam between various of the children from the field trip, the dogs and their leashes, and a man with many balloons in his hands.
"Uh, excuse me!" she said, trying to move past the children without shoving any of them or causing them to lose their balloons.
"I'm sorry," said the teacher. "But it appears that they are overly excited."
"That's okay," Tifa replied. I'm only five minutes late now.
Letting out a small yell as she was pushed back by children and the dogs she had just passed, Tifa wasn't aware of how close she was to the lake situated in the park. She lost her balance and went tumbling back into the cold water, spluttering in shock and flailing her arms. She couldn't remember the last time she had gone swimming and all she could think of was how cold the stupid water was.
"Someone help her!" a voice yelled out.
"Oh my God! He's jumping in to save her!" another voice exclaimed.
There was the sound of splashing, and before Tifa could even voice out that she was fine and that she could get out on her own, strong arms came around her and pulled her up. "Are you alright, Miss?" asked a smooth voice.
"Yeah," she muttered. "I think I just swallowed some of that water," Tifa grumbled, taking the offered hands as people hauled her up and out of the water and onto the small edge where there should've been some sort of safety fence. She wondered briefly how many people fell into the lake daily.
She sat on the pavement of the park walkway and felt like crying. She was late, wet, and had a nasty aftertaste in her mouth. Was it Friday the 13th or something? She looked up when she finally took a look at the man who had jumped in after her. For a moment, all she could see were bright blue eyes in a very handsome face, adorned by a criss-cross scar on his left cheek.
"Are you okay?" he asked her again, taking in her long dark hair, plastered to her face, and the eyes that were the color of his most favorite wine. Her make-up had run a little, but it didn't diminish from her beauty.
"I'm fine," Tifa assured him. "Thank you for jumping in after me," she said with a smile.
He opened his mouth to say something more, most likely something stupid because he had been floored by her smile, but he scowled when he saw something behind her. "I have to get going. Are you sure you're okay?"
"Yeah," Tifa said again, taking his hand as he helped her stand, amazed at how tall and broad shouldered he was. "I have to get to work."
"Well then, I hope we don't meet this way again," he said.
She laughed nervously and nodded, making her way towards the north exit of the park. She turned to look at him and found him watching her as she walked away, but she decided it was best for her to watch where she was going from now on. Ignoring the strange looks from the other people strolling through the park, Tifa frowned to herself as she inspected her ruined uniform and her dripping purse. "This so isn't my day," she muttered to herself.
"Yuffie... stop mooning over our customers."
The young woman with short dark hair, and dark eyes grinned and turned to her friend as they stood behind the counter of the café they were running. Currently, Yuffie's center of attention was a man sitting in the corner, enjoying an espresso and reading a book. He had long, dark hair, and the most strange red eyes either of them had ever seen. "Hey, Aerith, isn't Tifa running late?"
Aerith looked at the clock and nodded. "Tifa is never late," she commented. Almost as soon as she had said it, they saw a rather hilarious sight greet them from the door.
"Tifa! I just mopped this morning!" Yuffie whined.
"What happened to you?" Aerith asked, green eyes glinting in worry and amusement.
Tifa ignored the customers who were all watching her too, and just walked towards the back room. The other women followed her and waited for her to explain. "I fell into the lake in the park."
"Why?" Yuffie asked.
"We got into this traffic jam of sorts that included a bunch of kids, balloons, and many dogs," Tifa said, taking off her boots and her socks.
"I have an extra uniform. Do you want to use it?" Aerith asked.
Tifa nodded and smiled briefly. "That would be great. Thanks."
"Do you even know how to swim?" Yuffie asked curiously.
"A little, but then this guy jumped in after me and he helped me out."
Yuffie grinned, "Really?"
"Did you get his name and number? Because we all know it's about time you started dating again," said Aerith.
"Shouldn't someone be out there making sure that no one is stealing danishes or something?" Tifa asked in annoyance.
"I'll go," said Yuffie. "But I better hear all about this guy," she said before she walked back towards the front of the small café.
"Tifa... it's been three months since you and Cloud broke up. Shouldn't it be time for you to go out on another date?"
Tifa shrugged. "And you think that the best way for me to get a date is by asking the man who pulled me out of a lake?"
"Well, it could be a start. Did you even thank him?" asked Aerith as she gave Tifa the privacy she needed to change out of her wet uniform.
"I'm afraid to ask what it is that you consider a proper thank you," Tifa grumbled. She could tell that she wouldn't have the best day again.
"Well, you could've invited him to dinner, or offered him a coffee on the house," Aerith offered. "Yuffie and I are worried about you."
"Don't be," Tifa said honestly. "I'll go on a date when I'm ready. You and Yuffie pressuring me to date some random guy isn't going to happen. I just need a little more time. Okay?"
Aerith nodded and smiled. "Okay. Now let's see if we can do something with your hair," she said sweetly.
A week later, her day started off good. Nothing lost. She wasn't late. Her hair cooperated with her and looked silky and smooth, and there were no incidents with the lake at the park. And she hadn't seen the man who had saved her again. She couldn't quite recall his face anymore, but she could still remember the color of his eyes and the scar on his face.
Tifa had been convinced that Yuffie's luck had transferred to her, since her younger friend and coworker was usually the one who was accident prone. So far though, she'd had no further incidents, aside from nearly knocking over two baskets full of fruit at the market place the day before.
Sighing to herself as she strolled the park on her day off, Tifa tried not the think of the embarrassing display she had caused when she had fallen into the lake. Shaking her head, she hoped that no one she knew had been present to watch. That was a moment in her life that she wished she could forget. Standing under a tree and watching children with their parents walk by, or teens on skateboards, and the balloon vendor again, Tifa sighed to herself. She was content with her life. She didn't mind her small job, she had a good apartment, great friends, and she taught kids martial arts at the community center on the weekends.
All that's missing is a boyfriend, her mind chimed in. "I don't need a boyfriend," she muttered out loud. Cloud had made sure that she wouldn't want a boyfriend anytime soon. He had left her to go to a university far away, after being with her for nearly two years. She couldn't say that she wasn't angry, but he'd had a point when he said that long distance relationships didn't really work. He had been gone for almost four months now, but she still felt the way she had on the day he had left. She feared he had taken her heart with him.
Kicking a stone away from her foot, Tifa let out a sigh and began to move away from the tree, intent on going back home. A rather loud mewl interrupted her and she frowned. Cats didn't usually wander into the park when there were so many people. She looked around curiously when she heard it again and for some reason thought of looking up at the tree she had been standing under. Letting out a sigh, Tifa found a black and white cat at a very high branch.
"How did you get up there?" she asked it out loud. The cat only meowed again and Tifa shook her head, debating on what she should do. It seemed like a waste of resources to call the fire department to come get the cat out of a tree when a building could be catching on fire or something. She'd never been a fan of heights, but it didn't run deep into a phobia. Scrutinizing the tree for the best way to get up to the cat, she pulled her leather gloves from her back pockets and pulled them on. Usually she reserved their use for really cold weather, or for when she would be visiting the community center. She'd had them because she had forgotten they were in her pocket before going out for a stroll.
"You stay up there and wait for me, okay?" Tifa asked the cat. He blinked two green eyes at her and meowed once more. She shook her head to herself at her comment. Where else would the cat go? Down. Carefully grabbing onto the trunk and slowly finding her footing as she climbed, Tifa let out a calm breath and tried not to think of ground, which was further and further away.
Once she made it to the thick branch where the cat was, she let out a breath and forced herself to not look down. "Okay. I'm gonna come over there. Don't move and don't jump," she said gently, moving slowly towards the cat, keeping her eyes on it the entire time. The cat allowed her to get near, but its claws were digging into the branch in fright.
She pulled the cat into her arms and smiled when it mewled. She placed it inside her jacket and zipped it so that only the black and white head was poking out. "Now we just have to get down," said Tifa, her eyes moving down. She swallowed hard when her stomach dropped and she leaned back against the trunk as a wave of dizziness hit her. "Real smooth, Tifa. This is just the best time to develop a fear of heights."
She pulled her phone out of her pocket and dialed a number shakily. "Yeah, it's me. You're not gonna believe where I am and why I got here." She let out a breath. "No, not how, why," said Tifa. She gave directions to exactly where she was and five minutes later, Aerith was standing under the tree, looking for her. "Up here!"
Aerith looked up with wide eyes and gasped. "What are you doing in a tree?!" she exclaimed.
"Saving cats," said Tifa with a shake of her head. "And suddenly developing a fear of heights."
"What about your martial arts training? I've seen you jump from these heights," Aerith called.
"But that's when the adrenaline is pumping and I'm not thinking about falling on my stomach and killing the cat by squashing him!" Tifa yelled.
"I'll call the police for help!"
"That's what I was trying to avoid when I found my friend here. Just keep me company until I calm down and can try to climb back down, please," Tifa said, letting out a slow breath.
"Okay, but you have to buy me lunch when you get down from there," she said, green eyes glittering in worry.
"Deal," Tifa said.
"So, um, how's the weather up there?" Aerith asked with a smile.
Tifa let out a laugh and shook her head. She didn't know what she would do without her two best friends. They had been the best remedy post her break-up with Cloud. If only he could see her now. Stuck in a tree, failing to rescue a cat from certain doom. "Maybe we should see if cats land on their feet," she said to it.
The cat looked at her with his big eyes and Tifa smiled and shook her head. "So... you and Tseng, huh?" she called to Aerith.
"Yeah," Aerith replied with a nervous laugh. "He's not as serious and stuck-up as Yuffie had made us think. He's pretty sweet and he likes poetry too... crap, I wasn't supposed to tell anyone that."
Tifa smiled and was happy that her friend had found a nice guy. She couldn't bring herself to look down again to look at her, because she didn't need another wave of vertigo, but she missed the man who approached her when he noticed something strange.
"Uh, Miss? May I ask who it is you're talking to?"
"Oh, my friend. She's up in the tree," Aerith said, smiling sweetly at the handsome man who had just approached her. She had seen his face before, but she couldn't recall where.
He looked up and spotted Tifa sitting on a thick branch a pretty dangerous height from the ground. "Did you decide to take a nap up there? I wouldn't recommend it," he called.
Tifa grit her teeth. "I was trying to rescue a cat from the tree. It's my good deed of the day," she replied, not looking down.
"Do you generally rescue cats from trees?"
"No. Like I said, it's my good deed of the day. I just took a walk around the park to inspect the trees for any cats in need of saving today," Tifa said sarcastically.
The man chuckled and began to climb, even to Aerith's protests. "Don't worry about me, pretty lady. I'll be fine," he said before moving further up.
Tifa grit her teeth and forced herself to keep her eyes away from the ground again, even when she heard the man closing the distance with her. When he finally reached her, her eyes widened in recognition. The man with the blue eyes and the scar! "Shit," she muttered under her breath.
"If you'd like I can go back down and forget I saw you in a tree," he said, recognizing her by her eyes as well. "You're the girl... from the lake," he said with a slow grin.
"Yeah, and the universe must really hate me because they've sent you again," she said with an embarrassed smile.
"They who?" he asked curiously.
"Them. Fate, karma, or whatever else they can be," Tifa said with a shrug.
He smiled and reached over to scratch the cat over the head. "So he's the reason why you're in trouble. How did you get up here if you're afraid of heights?" he asked curiously.
Tifa sighed and shrugged. "I didn't think it was this far up, and I didn't think of how I'd get him down," she muttered. "Besides, I've never had any problems with heights before."
"Okay," said Zack, looking down and trying to find the safest way to get her back on the ground, and without hurting the cat. "I didn't catch your name," he said with a warm smile.
"I didn't give you my name," she replied.
"Well, as your would-be savior, wouldn't it be a good idea for me to know it?" he asked.
Tifa nodded and smiled, despite her situation. "Tifa. Tifa Lockhart. And you are...?"
Where had she heard that name before? "Nice to meet you, despite our predicament."
"Same to you. Now, I'm going to ask you to trust me. I will jump with you in my arms from branch to branch until we get to the ground, okay?"
"Have you done this before?" Tifa asked nervously.
"No," he said, shaking his head. "But I'm confident that I won't drop you," he said, standing with amazing balance on the branch. He offered her a hand and Tifa took it, slowly rising to her feet.
"Geez," she hissed when her eyes went to the ground. She clung to Zack and he gave her a reassuring squeeze. "I'm going to pick you up okay?" he asked seriously.
Tifa nodded, but didn't dare to open her eyes or talk when she felt his arms wind around her and pick her up with an arm under her legs. She squeezed the cat to her and couldn't help the girlish squeal that left her when she felt him jump. In a matter of seconds, he set her down on shaky legs and Tifa realized that they were on solid ground once more. She stared at him with big eyes and looking a little pale.
"Are you okay?" he asked, touching her cheek as her fingers dug into his arms.
"I'm fine—fine," Tifa said shakily, staring at his chest.
"Oh, that was amazing. Thank you so much!" Aerith exclaimed, moving over to pat Tifa's hair and squeeze her shoulders.
"You're welcome. Tifa? Are you sure you're okay? You look like you're going to pass out,," Zack said with a smile.
She blinked and finally felt herself relaxing. "I'm fine. Thank you for that," she said nervously, aware that Aerith was watching them both in rapt attention.
"Do you two know each other?" asked the green-eyed woman.
Tifa cleared her throat uncomfortably when Zack nodded and grinned. "He was the one who helped me out of the lake last week," Tifa explained.
"Oh," said Aerith in realization. "Wow. You've saved her twice this month. Maybe the third time will be the charm."
"The charm for what?" Tifa hissed.
Zack watched them both in amusement. "How about that cat, huh? Is he wearing a collar?"
Tifa was thankful for the change of subject and checked the animal's neck before shaking her head. "No. Maybe he's lost or something."
"We can put up fliers to see if anyone claims him," Aerith said, clapping her hands together.
"That's a good idea," Zack commented. There was a moment of awkward silence.
"Would you like to join us for some coffee?" Aerith asked him, ignoring the look on Tifa's face.
He looked at his watch and shook his head. "I have somewhere to be. I'm sorry. Maybe some other day?" he asked, looking at Tifa.
Tifa cleared her throat and nodded. "Yeah, that would be nice."
"Well, we work at a small café that's across the street from the north end of the park. You can't miss it," Aerith said as Tifa began to pull her away.
"Thank you... Zack," Tifa said, turning to him and smiling.
"No problem," he said, smiling in return. "Take care of yourself, Tifa, and don't get into more trouble with fate."
She laughed and nodded. "I'll try," she said before turning and walking away with her friend.
He watched her go, the smile still on his face and then began to walk the opposite way.
When Tifa and Aerith arrived at the café, where other people were working the shifts on their day off, Tifa sighed and plopped down in a corner booth after getting her and Aerith something to drink. "What was all that about?" she asked Aerith.
"I was just trying to get an idea of what type of guy he is. Also, I know where we've seen him before."
"Where?" asked Tifa curiously.
Aerith walked off to get something from the back room, and returned with a magazine in her hand. "Here," she said, setting the magazine in front of Tifa. It was a SOLDIER based issue, and the famous General Sephiroth and first class SOLDIERs Angeal Hewley, Genesis Rhapsodos, and Zack Fair were on the cover.
"He's a SOLDIER?" Tifa asked in shock.
"First Class too. It explains why it was so easy for him to jump down from the tree," Aerith said with a smile.
"Well then, he's way out of my league. Leave this alone," Tifa said, patting the cat that was still resting inside her jacket.
"He's so not out of your league."
"He's too pretty for me."
"No he's not!" Aerith almost yelled. "Now, Cloud... Cloud was too pretty for you. Zack is handsome, and more built... and..."
"Would you like a tissue for all that drool?" Tifa asked her.
Aerith smirked. "My point is... he's not too good for you. Yes he's famous, and handsome, and a bit of a flirt, but he's the type of guy who would be good for you."
"And how could you possibly know that?" Tifa asked with a frown.
"Because he's your knight in shining armor!"
Tifa rolled her eyes but couldn't stop her laughter at Aerith's words. "Right. I don't need a knight in shining... whatever," she muttered. "I can take care of myself," she said stubbornly.
"I bet you fifty gil that he'll come by here to ask you out sometime soon," said Aerith slyly.
"You're on. I haven't exactly shown him my best face. Last time I was all wet and with my make-up running, and this time I was like a friggin' ghost up in a tree. You think that those things paint a pretty picture?" Tifa asked smartly.
Aerith smiled and tapped Zack's face on the magazine. "You'd be surprised to see that many men out there like the weird-cat-saving type."
"Thanks for the compliment," Tifa said snidely.
"Don't worry about it. Zack strikes me as a sweet, caring man," Aerith assured her. "Besides, it's been nearly four months. Get over him," she said, standing to get herself a snack.
Tifa stared at the image of Zack grinning brightly in the picture and shook her head. She didn't need a testosterone based complication so soon after her break-up with Cloud. It was best if she left things alone. She just hoped that this Zack guy didn't truly show up.
Unfortunately, fate was still after her. Tifa had begun to wonder if maybe she had been a criminal, or some type of terrorist in another life, because she kept on getting what she didn't want.
Tifa's eyes were wide when a few days later, she looked up to see Zack come into the café with that easy smile on his face. He took a seat in a stool right in front of her and winked. "I hear you can get great coffee here," he said.
"How are you, Zack?" she asked, moving to pour him a cup full of the rich smelling liquid.
"I'm great. How about you? Still rescuing cats from trees or have you moved on to rescuing people from burning buildings?" Zack asked with a smile.
"Actually, I'm a vigilante by night. I put on a mask, tights, and I fight evildoers. Haven't you heard? They call me Karma Girl," she said with a smirk.
Zack let out a loud laugh that was pleasant to hear before taking a sip of his coffee. "You are something else," he said with a grin.
"I've actually been pretty busy with collecting canned food for the less fortunate," she said, and it was the honest truth. Working with the community made her happy. It was then she wondered why fate and luck were against her at times. She was a good person. Not perfect, but she didn't break rules or do any evil.
"Then that makes you an amazing something else," he said lightly.
Tifa couldn't stop the smile that bloomed on her face. "What brings you around here, aside from the coffee?" she asked in interest, ignoring the wink that Yuffie flashed her when she looked up to see if the customers were being taken care of.
"I hear that there's a pretty girl who works here. She has these amazing, maroon colored eyes, and she has a killer sense of humor. She also has a penchant for getting stuck in trees, and for falling into lakes," Zack said.
"So you're here for me."
Zack watched her try to fight down a blush, but her cheeks turned a sweet pink color. He nodded. "I got thinking about you getting stuck in a tree when you were trying to save a cat. Only the most amazing people risk their lives for an animal."
Tifa smiled. "I didn't really think about what I was doing until I was up there and I couldn't get down," she muttered.
"Still, actions speak louder than words. But on a more serious note... I came here to see if you would like to go out with me," he said before taking a sip of his coffee. Black and with no sugar or cream, Tifa noted.
She looked at him in the eyes and wondered what it would feel like to be on the arm of a man who was so handsome and well known. She didn't want fame, or to be in the spotlight because she was dating a SOLDIER; she was quite happy with how quiet her life was. Besides, her break-up with Cloud was still recent.
"Are you trying to think of the most polite way of shooting me down?" he asked her with a small smile.
Tifa laughed lightly and shook her head. "It's not that I don't want to. It's just that I recently broke up with my boyfriend and I think it's a little soon for me to be dating, despite what my friends have to say about that," she said with a sigh. "I'm sorry."
"No worries," he said, winking again. "If you ever change your mind, call me," he said, taking a pen from nearby and scribbling his number on a napkin. "Or... you know, if you ever get stuck in another tree, or you need a sidekick for Karma Girl, let me know."
She smiled and nodded. "The coffee is on the house. Have a nice day, Zack."
"Thanks, Tifa," he said before walking out.
"So?" Yuffie asked, nearly bouncing with energy in front of her.
"He asked me out," Tifa said quietly.
"And?" the shorter girl asked excitedly.
"And I said no."
"Don't give me that look, Yuffie Kisaragi. He gave me his number in case I change my mind," Tifa said, showing her the napkin before tucking it into her apron.
"Come on, Tifa. Don't do this!" Yuffie pleaded.
"Don't scare off a guy because you're still hung-up on some jerk who didn't value you enough to want to try a long distant relationship. I know they're a strain, but he could've at least tried. I didn't want to tell you this way, but I talked to Jessie the other day, and she said that Cloud asked some girl out already. You don't see him moping around that way you're doing, do you?" Yuffie asked darkly. "Has he even called you?"
Tifa thought about her words for a moment and shook her head. They hadn't talked in about a month, but that didn't mean anything. That didn't mean... could he had really gotten over her so soon? "I was better off not knowing, Yuffie," she muttered.
"I'm sorry, but I think it's time for you to move on and be happy. You deserve it, and this guy looks like a nice person. Don't lose your opportunity to get over Cloud if he's already doing the same with you," Yuffie said before walking away to tend to the customers.
Tifa sighed to herself and ran a hand through her long hair, trying to get her thoughts straight regarding her love life. Was she over Cloud? No. Did she like Zack? A little. Would it be too bad to take his offer on a date? Not really. Was she scared? Hell yes. But Aerith was right, she thought with a smirk, Zack was her knight in shining armor. He had saved her from the most ridiculous situations, and he still found her attractive. What man would want to date a woman who made such a fool of herself?
A smile slipped onto her face as she thought about his eyes and his smile. He seemed charming and easy-going and she did like him. Would it be so bad to give herself a chance to meet a new guy? Nope. She just had to gather her courage enough to call him.
"What's the matter with you, puppy?"
Zack looked up from his lounging position in the lunch area of the SOLDIER floor and shrugged. "Nothing. Just thinking."
"About what?" asked the man that had been his mentor since he had entered the program.
"A girl I met."
"It's always about a pair of nice eyes and long legs with you, isn't it?" asked the older man. "You've been distracted for a while now. This must be serious."
"She's special. I can feel it in my bones, but I don't know if she's interested enough," Zack replied. "I rescued her from a tree."
Angeal didn't bother to ask about it, since he was sure that it would lead to a story full of nonsense. "Did you forget how to charm a lady?" he asked with a smirk.
"No," Zack said, eyes narrowed. "She just recently broke up with her guy. I don't want to push it because I want to get to know her."
"Taking it slow? That's a first. Maybe she will do you some good," came the smart reply. "Have you contacted her? Sent her flowers or something of the like?"
Zack shook his head. "No. I was letting some time pass by," he said.
"Then may I suggest that you at least call her to show that you're still interested?"
Zack thought about it for a moment and nodded. Angeal stood from his seat and gave his shoulder a squeeze as he began to walk out of the room. Zack sat there for a moment, wondering what it was that he should do. He really did like Tifa, even with the limited times they had seen each other. She was funny, beautiful, and she seemed like someone who would be a great girlfriend.
Blinking, he looked up and towards the door, his eyes wide. He was sure he was imagining things as he stared at Tifa, who was smiling nervously. How long had he been staring into space? "Tifa?"
She nodded and smiled. "Surprised to see me?"
"Yeah," he said, getting to his feet. "No one is allowed up here!"
"I met a friend of yours down at the lobby," Tifa explained, fidgeting with a strand of her long hair as she stood in front of him. She didn't know if she was out of her mind, but she honestly wanted to prove that she wasn't the type of girl who would let herself whither away over a guy after a break-up. After listening to Yuffie and Aerith for an hour, telling her that she was doing the right thing, and that no, she wouldn't freak him out for searching him out first, she had decided to come see him at the Shinra building.
"Which friend?" he asked curiously.
"Angeal Hewley. He was on his way out when he heard me asking the receptionist about you. She didn't want to give me information because apparently there's a fanclub of yours that tries to sneak in at least twice a week," Tifa said with a small laugh. "Your friend asked me if I was the girl from the tree. Did you go around announcing that to all your friends?" she asked him suspiciously.
Zack grinned and shook his head as he approached her. "It kind of slipped out when I was talking to him a few minutes ago. So... what brings you here?"
"I've been thinking, and I don't know if I'm ready for anything serious, but I wouldn't mind if we were to go out once," she said nervously.
Tifa smiled at him. "Well, we'd have to see how the first date goes before we decide if we want to see each other again. Did I not tell you that I suffer from really bad luck or something?"
Zack chuckled and shook his head. "I really doubt that. I don't think anyone so pretty and sweet would have bad luck."
Her cheeks went pink at his compliments and she smiled shyly. "You'd be surprised. But I did my part. I warned you about it," Tifa said.
"Do you want to get something to eat now?" he asked, his eyes narrowed as he looked at a group of SOLDIER recruits passing by and giving him the thumbs-up.
Tifa nodded. "That sounds great. You're not busy?"
"Naw, and if I am, Angeal will cover for me," he said with a wink. They stepped into the elevator together and Tifa smiled nervously when he pressed the button for the lobby.
The descent was a quiet one and a little bit tense for Tifa. She didn't know if she was doing the right thing, but she would never know if she didn't take the chance. Smiling as she began to calm down, she blinked when the elevator suddenly came to a stop and the doors didn't open.
"Crap," muttered Zack.
Tifa let out an incredulous laugh. "Do you see? Bad luck follows me around. All I'm missing is the black cloud above my head."
Zack just grinned and shook his head. They were stuck in the elevator.
I tried to go for humor, though I don't know how well I did that, since my fortes are drama and angst at times. I hope everyone enjoyed this first chapter, since the romance really begins in the next. I know I didn't provide much background info on any of them, but that changes in the next chapter. As Zack and Tifa get to know each other, we'll get to know more about them, so be patient. I know this seems more like a situation for Yuffie and Vincent, but I thought it up with Zack and Tifa and I hope it works. There won't be angst, only a little bit of drama and a lot of romance in the next chapter, so let me know how you found this first chapter. Thank you for reading and I hope everyone has a good week.