Suspicions

AN: I own nothing in this story. This is for fire mystic so enjoy! Please R&R.

The front door opened and Tifa turned to see her 18 year old daughter walk into the house.

"Hey honey, how was your day?" Elly looked at her and sighed.

"Fine I guess. I'm going to my room." And a moment later she was gone, her door slamming shut.

Tifa sighed and leaned against the counter. This was the second day in a row that Elly had acted like this. Normally she'd spend time with Tifa talking about her day and how Fei was as a boyfriend. The barmaid was still worried when Reno came home thirty minutes later and noticed her disposition.

"What happened?"

"Somethings wrong with Elly. She's spending way too much time in her room alone. And I don't know what to do about it," Tifa said softly. Reno hugged her and nuzzled her neck.

"Well if you ask me I think it's something to do with Fei. If he dumped her I'm going to track him down and- but Tifa silenced her husband's threats with a finger to her lips.

"I don't think it's that. I think she's just depressed."

"How about we spend some time with her tomorrow one on one? I'll go first and then you can go, okay?"

"That sounds like a good idea. Who are you and what have you done with my husband?" Reno's eyes narrowed and Tifa giggled. "Kidding, kidding...I just hope it's nothing too serious."

"Me too, babe, me too..." Reno replied.


The next day, Saturday, Elly was woken up by a ray of sunlight and tossed around a little. Groaning as she opened her mahogany eyes, she knew it was hopeless to fall back to sleep. Padding to the hallway bathroom, she started the shower and got in.

As the hot water cascaded down her body, she started to sing, a habit she had apparently picked up from her mother.

Once her shower was finished and she had picked out her clothes for the day, she walked into the kitchen.

"Morning Elly," Tifa said. Her mother was already whipping up some of her famous pancakes.

"Good morning...are those chocolate chip pancakes?" Elly asked, her mouth nearly salivating. Tifa chuckled and nodded.

"Of course, would I make any other kind?" Reno entered the kitchen a few moments later and smirked.

"Was it just me or was someone singing Living on a Prayer in the shower a few minutes ago?"

"At least I can sing better than you old man," Elly said, the smirk that she had inherited from Reno marking her lips.

"I can still beat you at ping pong though," Reno shot back. Tifa shook her head at their teasing.

"You two never stop do you?"

After eating several stacks of pancakes between them, Elly and Reno rubbed their full bellies and gave twin burps of satisfaction.

"Mom, you've outdone yourself," Elly said.

"I do try," Tifa said, smiling. "So what are your plans for today?" Elly shrugged.

"Nothing really. Maybe catch a movie with Fei later tonight or go bug Uncle Cloud and Denzel."

"Then how about we go get some TCBY later?" Reno suggested.

"Alright..." Elly agreed.

A few hours later Reno and Elly drove to TCBY, Tifa declining the invitation.

Arriving at the yogurt chain, father and daughter placed their orders and soon enough were sitting down at a table, two triple fudge parfaits in front of them.

"When was the last time we did this?" Reno asked aloud.

"Not since I was twelve I think." Reno gave a murmur of agreement and stared at his daughter.

"Elly...is there anything you'd like to talk about? I won't tell your mother if that's what you're afraid of." Elly stared at the table for a few moments before replying.

"Nothings bothering me Dad."

"Nothing? Fei's treating you alright?" Elly scoffed at her dad's question.

"Of course he is. What's your problem with him anyway?"

"Nothing, I just want to make sure you're alright Elly. I'm your father, it's kind of in the job description."

"I'm fine dad, really."

"If you say so..." Reno said. A few moments later Elly's eyes gleamed and she gestured towards her frozen treat.

"Want to see if I can eat faster than you?" Reno smirked.

"Challenging the champion eh? You've got guts."

And soon enough the two attacked their yogurt with a vengeance. Once the plastic spoons were lowered, Reno was victorious.

"I'll beat you one day dad, you'll see," Elly said. Reno would have replied but he suddenly got a brain freeze. Elly started laughing at his predicament until she got one a few moments later.


The sun was just beginning to set several hours later when Tifa approached Elly who was lounging on the couch.

"No Fei tonight?"

"He's busy working on something for me. I totally forgot I had asked him to."

"Then how about we go to the park?" Elly nodded and got to her feet.

The air was crisp as they walked along the sidewalk and the pair were silent as they entered the park. Little kids were laughing as their parents watched and Elly saw the swing set, looking at her mother a moment later.

"Want to go for a swing?" Tifa asked.

"I think you know the answer," Elly replied. The red head sat down on one of the swings and waited for her mother to do the same. But she suddenly felt a hand on her back as she was pushed.

"Elly...you know you can always talk to me about any problems you might be having," Tifa said softly as she pushed her.

"You too? Why do you guys think somethings wrong with me? I'm just fine," the teen said. Tifa stopped pushing her then and Elly came to a stop a few moments later. Looking up at her mother, Elly saw her eyes watering a little.

"You shut yourself away in your room and you won't talk to me. I just don't want you to get hurt Elly..."

"Mom...I'm sorry for making you feel like you weren't wanted. You and dad mean everything to me. I just needed some time to myself. You understand, right?" Tifa nodded and wiped a few tears away. "You know what?"

"What?" Tifa asked.

"I think you need this swing more than I do." Elly got up then and moved Tifa to her previous position. Pushing her mother lightly, Elly chuckled a little.

"Dad would get a kick out of this."

"Don't you dare tell him. He would never let me live this down."

"I won't. Besides we could blackmail him with those pictures from last Halloween." Tifa laughed at the memory. Reno had lost a bet to his wife and went to Yuffie's Halloween party dressed in a pink tutu with white leggings. He thought Tifa had destroyed all the photos but she had given a few to Elly.

"You really are just like your father," Tifa whispered. Elly stopped her pushing and kissed Tifa on the cheek.

"Yeah, but I'm my mother's daughter as well."


The next day, as Tifa and Reno were driving home from grocery shopping, Reno looked at her.

"So did you find out what was bugging Elly?"

"She said she just needed some time to herself. I knew it wasn't boy troubles."

"Yeah, yeah, you were right. You always are," Reno replied. Tifa laughed and kissed him on the cheek.

"And don't you forget it!"

Pulling into their driveway, they noticed the lights were off. Going through the front door, the lights suddenly came on and both husband and wife gaped.

"HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!" a chorus of voices shouted. All their friends were there from the Turks and Avalanche. Yuffie was whooping up a storm, her energy as high as always. Rude and his son tried to restrain the ninja but they failed as always. Elena cheered along with her daughter Revy, her husband not so vocally enthusiastic but his smile made up for it.

Even Cloud and Vincent were smiling widely, well, as wide as they could.

Elly broke apart from Fei and ran up to her parents, both arms wide as she embraced them.

"So this is why you were so reclusive the last few days," Tifa said, her eyes brimming with tears of joy. Elly nodded and looked at her dad, who had a highly amused smirk on his face. Ruffling her hair, he wiped away at his eyes swiftly, not wanting anyone to see his own tears.

"You sure pulled a fast one on us."

"I learned from the best," Elly said.

"But all this is too much," Tifa remarked, taking in the large sculpture of the two of them. Fei had obviously used all his talent in creating it. Elly shook her head fiercely at her mother's comment.

"Mom, Dad, I love you both so much. I'm so sorry for worrying you over the past couple days. Happy Anniversary!" As she led them towards their friends, Tifa leaned close to Reno and whispered in his ear.

"Looks like we were both wrong."

"I'm not upset, are you?"

"Not at all..."

It was the best anniversary either could remember.