Final Fantasy VII: For Richer or Poorer

By: PhinalPhantasy

(A/N: I'm sorry it's been a while since I've submitted anything. My sleep schedule has been very off lately and as such I haven't been writing as often as I would like. I'll try to update my other open stories as soon as possible. This fic is written for a great deviantart artist's (Cataclysm-X) contest about "Famous Duos or Couples." The rules were pretty much open to almost anything so I thought I'd take the opportunity to write in one of my favorite fandoms that I've never written in before, Final Fantasy [which is ironic considering my penname]. As this is my first time writing a FF story, I hope I do it justice. This story takes place soon after Advent Children.)

(Disclaimer: I don't own Final Fantasy VII or its characters; I'm just having fun with it.)

After thinking things over, Cloud could only come to one conclusion…this was the worst situation he had ever been in. Sure he helped save the world from Sephiroth…twice, but this was one problem his skills as an ex-SOILDER couldn't solve.

"What are we going to do Cloud?" Tifa asked, her normally happy demeanor replaced with one of severe worry as she placed the copies of the various bills of this month on the bar: rent, utilities, cable, internet, garbage removal, the supplies of the various alcoholic beverages and food the lovely bartender served here, all were extremely steep, "I could lose 7th Heaven!" she said, "It's not just where I work, it's my home!"

"Our home," Cloud reminded his lover, "Or did you forget that I've been living here for the past two years?"

Tifa sighed, "I'm sorry Cloud. I'm just really stressed." Cloud didn't reply but took her into his arms.

"It'll be okay. We'll figure something out," he said, kissing her forehead, "What if…I did a little monster hunting to get some extra gil?" he suggested.

"Are you joking?" Tifa asked, "It would take you days to kill enough monsters around here to build up this kind of gil and just as long if you were to venture farther away from here to find the big money monsters and come back."

Cloud thought it over, "I guess you're right. And even though my delivery service is doing decent, it won't make us enough in time."

"And customers at the bar have been a little scarce lately," Tifa noted, "The recession is hitting everyone hard." Cloud nodded. Somehow news had leaked as to the unsavory nature of some of the Shin-Ra Corporation's experiments and as a result, the public's confidence in them dropped sharply, but in the long run, hurting the megacorporation hurt everyone as the economy was sharply declining. Ironically, Cloud and his friends had decided to use the vast amount of money they acquired on their original journey to help their former enemy so they could build Edge and give the people in the slums some much needed work. However that million gil was used up quickly and the world was still in crisis, just a different kind. But to Cloud, the biggest crisis was seeing the woman he loved in such dire straights, "Tifa. I promise you that I'll help us get through this, one way or another."

"Cloud…you don't have to shoulder the burden by yourself," Tifa replied, "Like you said, it's our home."

"I know," Cloud replied, "But there is one thing I can do to help hold us over for at least the next few months."

"What's that?" Tifa asked.

"It's nothing dangerous I promise you," Cloud said, "But it will require a pretty big sacrifice on my part."

"Tell me," Tifa said.

"If I said anymore, I'm afraid you won't let me do it," Cloud said.

"Well in that case, don't do it," Tifa replied, "If you know I won't approve, then don't even think it," she insisted, "Come on. The deadlines to these bills aren't for a few days. We can think of something before then, I'm sure," she smiled. Cloud nodded in agreement. For the rest of the day, they had brainstormed ideas form stuff as ridiculous as going to the casinos in Gold Saucer and pray for the best, to stuff that would take too long to work like opening a dojo, to even the unlikely idea of working for Shin-Ra itself. By the end of the day Cloud and Tifa were both tired and no closer to a solution so they decided to call it a night early and fell asleep in each other's arms…

It was the crack of dawn when Cloud woke up first and smiled at seeing the sweet sleeping face of Tifa. Normally he would give her a kiss, but he wanted to leave without her knowing. He knew his lover wouldn't like what he was about to do, so he felt a twinge of guilt, but as he didn't verbally make a promise, Cloud figured it would be easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission. He got up slowly and took his clothes to the bathroom to change there before going downstairs and leaving on his motorcycle. The start of the engine however was enough to wake up Tifa.

"Huh? What?" the young woman woke up with a start. She looked around and saw that Cloud wasn't next to her on the bed. She got up and looked out the window, not caring that she was currently wearing a revealing nightgown for all to see, and she saw her lover on his bike zooming off in the streets, "Cloud," she said with both anger and worry. She quickly went to the telephone and dialed his cell phone…which she heard going off on top of their nightstand, "You didn't even take your phone…what if something happens…" she said to the empty room. Suddenly all thought of her financial worries took a back seat to worrying about her Cloud…

It was four hours later before she heard the sound of an approaching motorcycle again. However Tifa knew the sound of the engine on Cloud's customized bike and this definitely wasn't it. The motor stopped just outside the entrance to the bar and footsteps approached the open bar.

"Sorry, we're closed until tonight," Tifa announced, not bothering to look at the potential customer who let out a low whistle.

"Tifa if you dressed like that when you serve drinks, our troubles would really be over."

"Cloud Strife you jerk!" Tifa jumped over the bar, only now remembering that she didn't bother to change from her nightgown. She blushed a bit but still approached Cloud and gave him a strong punch on the side of his face that sent the ex-SOILDER to the ground, "Do you have any idea how worried I was? Leaving without telling me! Without your cell! And after telling me you think you can do something I won't like! Well what did you do? Why did you do it? Explain yourself!" Tifa demanded.

"Please calm down," Cloud said, rubbing his very sore cheek, "If you want to know what I did, look outside."

Tifa glared at her lover before stepping outside. Parked in Cloud's usual space was an ordinary Yamaha. Tifa's eyes widened and her jaw dropped when she realized what Cloud had done, "You…you traded in your custom bike! You traded in the Fenrir!" Tifa said in shock.

"And got a great deal. I have a lot of cash back," Cloud said, "And that's not all," he said and then turned around to show Tifa his back which had an ordinary sized sword strapped to it.

"Your sword…" Tifa was amazed.

"Swords. Plural," Cloud replied, "The Fusion Swords that I had customized to interlock with each other. All sold."

"Your bike, your weapons," Tifa said, "I know what they meant to you. You sold them for me?"

"I knew you wouldn't let me if I said anything. After all it did take me a while to get the gil to buy them in the first place," Cloud replied, "I had to though. For you. For us. I hope you're not mad."

Tifa, teary eyed, moved to Cloud and wrapped him in a bear hug, "Thank you Cloud. I love you," she said.

"There's one more thing I had to sell," Cloud said, "I had a present I wanted to give you yesterday, but when you showed me those bills I knew I had to trade it too."

"What kind of present?" Tifa asked. Cloud got down on one knee and pulled a small box from his pocket. He opened it in front of her and inside was a gold ring with a single diamond in the center. A simple but beautiful design.

"I love you Tifa," Cloud said, "And even though I know this ring isn't worthy of your finger, I realized something today. Even the more elegant ring I had earlier wouldn't've been worthy of you, but it doesn't matter. What matters to me is the love we have for each other. For richer or poorer, I am yours if you will have me. Tifa Lockhart, will you marry me?"

Tifa was speechless for a moment. Although it was true that even if Cloud did tell her what he planned, she wouldn't've allowed it, it was the sweetest most loving thing he had ever done for her. Smiling with tears in her eyes, she nodded, "Yes Cloud. I will marry you!" Tifa held out her hand and a smiling Cloud put the ring on her finger then got on his feet and wrapped his arms around her.

"I love you Tifa and together we can endure anything."

"I know Cloud. I love you too," Tifa replied and kissed her new fiancée with passion, knowing that no matter what, they'll make it.

(A/N: Well I hope that you enjoyed my take on one of my favorite FF couples. Please leave me some comments to let me know what you thought.)