okay, here's a little concept I dreamt up whilst milling around, doing my best not to study. So here goes, hope you enjoy it.

As always, PLEASE review it!

Whiskey and phobias

Wutai, May 3rd, evening. Tifa's birthday party. Well, I wouldn't have said party, more of a gathering. She and Yuffie lived in an apartment there, and Yuffie had been adamant that everyone came. I had received a begging phone call from her myself, though I had no reason to decline.

Due to the fact of everyone's insistence that Tifa should not cook on her birthday, and that no-one else had volunteered themselves in her place, we were dining on pizza, though nobody seemed to mind. Friends, warmth and cheap food, she joked, was all she could ask for.

It was long past midnight, and a few of the less hardy had gone to bed, leaving the survivors behind; Tifa, Cid, Yuffie and myself. Cloud was out of town first thing; he had left on the train earlier in the evening, Shera and Barret had gone up to bed, and Red XIII was asleep in front of the fire.

Tifa was giggling; she'd drunk a considerable amount of wine, and with a wink in my direction, she'd pulled out a bottle of whiskey. I wouldn't have considered myself a hard drinker, though in our pervious get-togethers, I had drank Cid and Cloud under the table.

I accepted a glass from her and relaxed in my seat; Yuffie was not usually my kind of person, though if she had other means with which to distract herself with, I could tolerate her. Cid was always good company(and also a mean with which Yuffie would distract herself with), and Tifa was a good friend of mine. She had helped me move into my apartment, where I had settled in Junon, and I, in turn had assisted her in her move to Wutai. We had had some good times together, over the years that we had gotten to know each other, and although Cid had joked otherwise often enough, our relationship was only platonic.

"Vince?" I'd been thinking too deeply again.


"Were you ever afraid of anything as a kid?" Yuffie asked me with a snort. Tifa considered me with a thoughtful gaze, Cid pinching a cigarette between his lips to light it. Tifa slapped his thigh and banished him outside. He grudgingly complied.

"I was, and still am, scared of spiders!" Tifa admitted, sipping her whiskey, giving the slightest of grimaces as it touched her pursed lips.

"When I was young, I…" I gazed into my whiskey glass, then downed its contents before continuing. "I was afraid of kissing girls." Yuffie spat her drink out onto her lap, laughing raucously.

"Ha, ha Vinnie was afraid of kissing girls! Geez, that explains a lot!" Tifa hid a smirk behind her hand.

"Its true. Sorry to ruin the story, but where I grew up, people believed that if you kissed a woman before marriage, she would as a result, suck out your soul." Yuffie laughed again.

"What kind of backwater place believes that crap?!"

"Yuffie… I grew up in Wutai." It was Tifa's turn to laugh, and I couldn't help but smirk to myself at her incredulous look.

"What century was that?" Yuffie grumbled to herself, taking a mouthful of whiskey with a look of disgust etched into her features.

"Where did Spiders come from?" I addressed Tifa, while Yuffie left the room to wipe the regurgitated whiskey from her clothes.

"Well, it was when I went to put my Pyjamas on when I was a little girl. I got into bed, and it crawled out of my sleeve and into my bed. I was delirious with screaming!" She recalled, her eyes bright with mirth. "My Dad came into the room with a baseball bat; he thought we were being robbed."

As the evening progressed, the remaining company began to complain of being hungry. Being the only member of the group with any inhibitions, I was given the task of making ham salad sandwiches for them all. Sighing, I set to the task. Taking out the required ingredients; ham, bread, tomatoes, lettuce… I had an idea.

I'd heard about it before in stand up comedy; and gazing at the object I pinched in my fingers, I could see where the stigma came from. I placed it in my pocket, and brought out the sandwiches. at the next opportunity I got, I slipped upstairs, and with only a moments hesitation, I slipped into Tifa's bedroom.

I almost backed out; it was very ungentleman-like to enter a lady's bedroom without permission. But the opportunity that presented itself to me was too good to miss. I pulled back her neatly made sheets with care; although I told myself she was drunk, she'd be bound to notice if the bed was in a state of recognisable disorder.

I planted the object in the centre of the crisp white sheets, and then tugged them back taut into the correct position. I suppressed a smirk; I could only imagine what the results of this would be. That is, if she was sober enough to notice.

I hurried back to rejoin the celebration, aware that taking too long would arouse suspicions, making sure I had closed the door behind me and left everything in place.

Now all I had to do, was wait.

Cid was ranting; apparently, he had been afraid of a monster under his bed. that I thought, was something for another night. Yuffie was in her element; anecdotes, jokes and impressions were reeling off her tongue in an endless babble that was beginning to give me a headache.

Soon, it became obvious to me that Tifa was reaching the point of no return; she began to yawn frequently, her eyes were unfocused, and she didn't appear to have enough energy to laugh as much. I became agitated.

Then, at long last, she stood with a stretch.

"Well guys, its 2:30. I 'd probably better go to bed. We can't be ordering pizza for breakfast, can we?" She stumbled across her living room towards the stairs, running a hand through her long auburn hair. "Goodnight everyone." Cid was snoring in the armchair, and Yuffie was busy trying to put things up his nose, so I was able to focus on Tifa's footsteps upstairs.

The bathroom, the hall, back to the bathroom… Come on….

The bedroom door opened, and closed. Only a matter of time, now…

After 5 minutes, I let out a slow, slightly disappointed breath. She hadn't noticed it. I turned my attentions to Yuffie, who was giving a silent victory arm pump, as she had successfully implanted an olive into Cid's nostril without waking him. I was about to open my mouth to pass comment when I heard it.

"AAAARRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGHHH!" Tifa's deafening scream awoke Cid with a jolt, sending the olive flying through the air into my still full glass of whiskey. Yuffie and I stood together and rushed up the stairs, though I allowed her to go in front, lest she notice my smirk which I was having difficulty controlling.

"VINCENT VALENTINE, WHERE ARE YOU?" Tifa seethed, storming across the landing, with her fists clenched. I did my best to look innocent.

"What happened, Teef?" Yuffie inquired, her eyes darting from my face, to Tifa's. Tifa's angry face dissolved into a barely plausible 'annoyed' grimace, as she held up the object I had planted in her bed, pinched between her fingers.

A tomato stalk.

Yuffie stared at it for five seconds, before sinking to her knees, finger pointing at nowhere in particular, eyes streaming with tears of laughter.

"oh, GOD, Vinnie! Th-hat was…. brilliant…" She gasped, clutching her stomach, while Tifa gazed at me with an open mouth.

Because I was laughing. Shoulders shaking with uncontrollable waves of hilarity, tears starting to well up in my eyes. I rarely smiled, let alone laughed. But I'd had rather a lot of wine and whiskey, and my own originality had gotten the better of me.

"I apologise Tifa. The opportunity was too good to miss." I humbled myself, wiping my eyes with the back of my hand. "Please forgive me."

As Yuffie was still pointing in the vague direction of Tifa's shins, though the moment was gone, Tifa and I took one arm each and tugged her reluctantly to bed, adamant that she was drunk and needed rest. She would be sharing with Tifa, who wanted to make sure the ninja was well asleep before she tried to get some well needed rest.

"Nice move," Tifa whispered to me, and she closed the door to her room behind us, awarding me with a warm smile. "It scared the living daylights out of me."

"I apologise again." I chuckled a little.

"Thanks for coming." She said, suddenly bashfully solemn.


"For coming tonight. You know, I haven't seen many of my friends in months, and I was disappointed Cloud couldn't stay. You have made my birthday very enjoyable, and I thank you." She placed her hand on my arm gently.

"It was no problem at all. I have enjoyed it very much." I smirked a little. She gave me a playful punch, with the added force only of a master martial artist. I winced.

"But I have to pay you back, you understand?" She said suddenly, as I had turned to enter the room I was sharing with Barret. I turned in the doorway, Barrett's snores emanating loudly from inside the room, foretelling of my restless night, no doubt. She smiled, before coming to stand before me, and grasping my shirt.

Before I knew what was happening, before I could steady myself, I was stumbling forwards, her lips meeting mine. I must have parted them in surprise, for she lingered there a few seconds more, before withdrawing, a blush evident on her cheeks.

Was it accident, that we had kissed? Had I given her the wrong signs?

"Your soul is now mine!" She giggled, before entering her bedroom and closing the door behind her.

I licked my lips involuntarily, aware of the taste of whiskey, of that lip balm she wore that smelled of cherries, and of course, the tomato. I smirked, then entered my room, aware that I would be awake all night, even if it weren't for Barrett's snoring.