AN: Originally written for zelda6 eons ago, before Impressions was a twinkle in my eye. It's been languishing on my harddrive because I didn't know what to do with it, nor had the will to finish it, until recently, when I spoke with an old friend, one of the original Zack/Tifa fans here at ffnet.
Two things I should warn you about: Writing Sephiroth/Tifa angst for all these months has made me rusty at comedy and Zack—I apologize in advance. Also, I still stand by what I said before: The Impressions that was here before will never appear here again. That doesn't mean I can't return to that universe every once in a while though. Especially since Eliot and The Karol have been begging for a visit.
For zelda6 and soda-cola-pop.
Men were the first domesticated animals.
Though summers in Gongaga meant days hot and sticky enough to put wet rings in the armpits of Zack's shirt, Tifa still insisted on using the oven.
Fortunately, there was no time to dissect it. Zack had just made it through the front door, relieved to finally be home after a long day at work, only to have a biscuit-gumming baby thrust into his arms by a wife who seemed both relieved and irritated to see him.
"You're late," Tifa said. "And now I'm late. Do you know what day today is?"
Sure, he knew. It was Tuesday. Tuesdays were a water cooler recap of Monday night's korfball match, Zack thought, eyeing Tifa's tank top and tight shorts appreciatively. Then he noticed the gym bag hanging from her shoulder and remembered what else Tuesdays meant. Whoops.
"Ryder," Zack said, using his son, who was busy gnawing at a chubby fist, as an excuse to avoid her eyes. "I'm pretty sure whatever that was is gone by now, buddy."
Tifa sighed and pried Ryder's fingers open. "No, he's still got some left. Listen, there's a casserole in the oven right now. Take it out in ten minutes and let it sit for five." She moved what was left of the teething cookie to the edge of the baby's hand and closed his fingers around it. "Did you hear me, Zack?"
"Yeah, yeah. Ten minutes, sit for five."
"Don't forget, or you'll both be eating burnt chicken." Tifa jabbed a finger at his chest. "And don't forget to turn the oven off this time."
"Hey!" Zack rubbed at the spot where she had poked him. "It was only that one time. I had it under control, but the neighbors decided to overreact anyway."
Tifa blinked at him. "It was twice, and the second time involved the fire department." She glanced at her watch. "Oh, damn. I gotta go, or all the good bikes'll be taken for sure."
Zack followed her to the door. "Sorry about being late and all. Hope you don't have to sit in back and stare at butts all night, since, you know, you'll be staring at mine once you get back."
She stopped with her hand on the doorknob. Grinning, Zack waited for her snappy reply, but the look Tifa turned on him was one of regret. "Look, I know we've been so busy lately...what, with tax time and my job and the baby. Let's try and make some time for us tonight, without bothering your parents to babysit. Once Ryder goes down for the night, how about a bottle of wine and a massage. Sound good?"
It sounded more than good. She was right; it had been a while. "Can't wait," Zack said. Then he looked down at their son, who, though occupied with his fist, looked anything but tired. "And I guess I'll have to wear him out, won't I? If he goes down fast enough, will this evening also include that little scrap of lace I got you for your birthday?"
She laughed. "Mmm, possibly. Are you wanting to see the fruit of all these spinning classes?"
"Hell, I just want to see you," he said. "Clothing is always optional."
"Just make sure he gets a bath first," Tifa said dryly. "Mommy's leaving, Ry-Boy." She pressed her lips into the baby's dark hair, the only thing not covered in cookie debris, made smooching noises, then aimed her mouth at Zack.
He stopped her with a hand. "An adult one, please. And with liberal use of the tongue."
She gave him a perfunctory kiss on the mouth. "Later. Save it for later." She yanked open the front door and adjusted the gym bag strap on her shoulder. "Okay, I'm outta here. Love you, boys!"
"Say bye to Mommy, Ryder." Zack wrestled his son's hand away from his mouth long enough to manipulate it in a waving motion. He watched until Tifa's car was at the end of their street before pushing the front door shut.
The house was still dreadfully hot and his shirt slightly damp. Ryder's hand was back in his mouth. In the quietness that followed, Zack looked at his son thoughtfully.
"I don't suppose you remember when she said to take dinner out of the oven, do you?"
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