Send Me An Angel
My feet shuffled quickly around the floor, my long hair trailing behind me as I weaved through the tables. The bar was packed tonight and it was only me and Tifa this time. She was working the counter, whole I was going around with people's drinks. I had been going at this for at least 4 hours now, and Tifa looked about ready to strangle half of the guys she was serving.
Cleaning more empty glasses off of a table, I placed the money left there in the pocked of my skirt apron, before making my way toward the kitchen to place the glasses in the sink to rinse. As soon as I stepped out again, Tifa had another tray of drinks waiting on me. I sighed, giving her a sympathetic look, to which she returned, as we both once more resumed out work. I dodged past a man that was wasted beyond belief, that I knew Tifa had cut off 2 hours prior and he was still yet to leave. Reaching the table that had two girls and two guys there, I placed down the beer bottles and whisky glasses.
One of the guys wrapped an arm around my waist, causing me to cringe when I felt him squeeze my ass and took a step away. "Damn baby, your body is like a temple."
"Sorry, there's no services today." I shot back and quickly left the table behind, heading back for the counter and clearing empty tables along the way. I nearly lost my balance, and the tray, when a shooting pain jabbed up my right ankle, making me bite my tongue to stop from crying out. Leaning against the counter for a moment to take the pressure off, I looked over to see that Tifa was busy trying to get a drunk man from ordering....when she had already cut him off....twice.
Moving away from the counter before she could see me, I ran into the kitchen, placing the drinks down and leaned against the sink. I groaned when I saw the hem of my dark brown cargo pants beginning to stain black. Lifting up the bottom of the pant leg, I saw that the black blood and run straight through the bandage and was started to bleed through my pants as well. Not able to bandage it up again at the moment, I just pulled off the old bandage, and tossed it, before I pulled down the pant leg and resumed my work. Stepping up to the bar, I saw another tray waiting, this one with only two beers on it, and snagged it quickly.
As I was getting ready to turn back to the bar to take the drinks out, an arm came around my hips once more and pulled me against the body of a very hairy looking man. His beard was about a month over due for a shave, his eyebrows bushed out insanely, and he was hunched over slightly. "You know, if I could see you naked, I would die happy." He wiggled those hairy eyebrows and I flinched away from him.
"And if I saw you naked I would probably die laughing."
It wasn't that I was rude, or mean, or generally a bitch. It was just that Tifa had told me that you had to be touch with the men that got drunk there because they could, and would, take any advantage they got of you. So you have to show them to back off or pay the price. Cloud wasn't around often here at the bar, but when he was, he would not stand at all, if someone would hit on me or Tifa, or even Yuffie when she helped out. They would be outside, face in the dirt and ass in the air before they could even slur out an apology.
Putting on a fake smile, I waved to the last group to leave the bar, before turning off the front 'open' sign and closing the door. I leaned against the door as I looked around the room, groaning inwardly. Tifa had gone to bed, heavily drugged down with Tylenol for a large migraine that had decided to show itself only 30 minutes before closing time. It was now three in the morning and I had to clean out this whole place, and finish the dishes, all before morning. Sighing, I picked up my tray and started with bringing any leftover dishes to the kitchen to soak, before I washed them. I made sure the put in my headphones and turn my iPod up high, to drown out the rest of the world and only let me concentrate on my work. I had already taken off my apron, taken my tips for the night, put the rest of the money away and was now left in my loose cargos and spaghetti strap belly top.
After I had cleaned, dried and put all the dishes away, all that was left was to sweep, mop and wash down the counter and table tops, that I was totally finished. Stepping out with the broom, I began to let my mind wander as I started the annoying task of sweeping the floors. I thought about how things had improved so much within Edge since the Stigma had been cured, which then brought my attention to my ankle.
I have had the stigma for a couple of months now, and I was actually going to go down to the church to cure it today, when Tifa had asked me to help her out tonight cause Cloud was going to be out for a while on deliveries and Yuffie wasn't in the area to help out at the moment. So, here I was, my ankle now throbbing as I remembered it from earlier, and my whole body too tired to fight it off. I was definitely going down to the church, as soon as I got some sleep, and getting rid of this damn thing.
Within no time, the floor was done, and I was on to the counters. It was now reach four am, but I needed to finish up. Starting with the bar, I thought about how Cloud was supposed to be back home soon. He was making deliveries further away and was gone for a couple of days. But he was supposed to be back any day now. And I couldn't wait. I had come to enjoy his homecomings more than anyone else, it gave me an excuse to talk to him. Yes, I could verbally slap a drunken man across the face, but I was too shy to speak to Cloud Strife, world hero. Pathetic, right?
Rinsing out the cloth, I walked out to finish wiping off the last table, before I could go shower, bandage my throbbing ankle, and then finally get some sleep. Wiping the table down, I had my music up so loud, that I didn't hear when the front door to the bar opened, or when my name was called out. With the song 'Send Me An Angel' pounding in my ears, I finished with the table, straightening, before I folded up the dirty cloth as I looked out the nearest windows, see that it was beginning to rain lightly against the glass.
A hand came down on my shoulder, causing me to gasp in surprise as I spun around. But that wasn't the smartest thing to do when my ankle is already weak enough as it was with the stigma. I ended up turning around and putting too much pressure on my right ankle. Crying out in pain, I reached out to grasp something to stop my fall, but I landed on something soft instead. Looking up, I saw that it was actually Cloud that had touched my shoulder. When I had fallen, he had got down to one knee and caught me so that I ended up sitting up his upraised, bent knee, while his right arm went around my shoulder, his other hand grasping my legs to keep me from slipping off his lap. Pulling the headphones out of my ears, my cheeks flamed red. For once I hoped that he thought I was blushing and not tensing in pain from my ankle.
"Cloud! I'm sorry, I didn't know it was you. I must have caught my ankle at an odd angle." I smiled, hiding the pain that I was actually screaming about on the inside. "Thanks for the catch." Looking up at him again, I saw that he was looking down at my ankle. I panicked and quickly took hold of the table that was next to us and tried to use to it stand up.
I stilled when he spoke my name, half way off of his lap as I held the edge of the table. His hand was still on my back, and I was sure that he could feel my heart pounding from inside my chest. Looking back over to him, I saw his eyes were hard, silently tell me to speak the truth. I flinched as I looked away once more, leaned more heavily against the table.
"I should really be getting up to bed-"
Stepping onto my right ankle to walk, I cried out when the pain felt almost like I had split the bone in half. Tipping to the side, those same arms caught me once again, sitting me down on the floor carefully as my face scrunched up in pain. My teeth were clenched, jaw locked, and my eyes shut tight. I held back a hiss of pain as I opened my eyes once more, looking down at my ankle. The black stain on the bottom of the pant leg had spread a bit and gotten darker.
"I can't walk." Mumbling to myself, I fought back the burning tears of pain. I would not cry in Cloud's presence. I have worked so hard to be strong in his eyes, I can't get weak now! Once more moving to get up, Cloud caught my hand before I could reach for something to pull myself up. My eyes widening in shock, I looked over toward Cloud, only to find his face mere centimetres from my own. His sky blue eyes were looking at me intently as his warm hand keeping hold of my own.
"You didn't sprain your ankle, did you?" Though I knew he already knew the answer, I shook my head as my eyes became glassy with tears once more. Releasing my hand, he moved down to my ankle and carefully pulled up the leg of my pants, showing the disgusting black mark that looked like a deep bruise on my ankle and calf. "Aki....."
I closed my eyes as I heard him whisper my name in sympathy, but I didn't want his sympathy. My face fell so that my bright autumn hair fell into my face. Tifa had once told me that Cloud had said that my hair looked like autumn leaves in the evening sunset. That's when I began to feel strange around him in the first place. Warm tears slipped from my eyes as I felt the pain begin to shoot up my leg, causing my whole body to tense. I recognized this feeling, this usually happened right before....I black out....
It gets in your eyes
It's making you cry
Don't know what to do
Don't know what to do
You're looking for love,
Calling heaven above....
Send me and angel
Send me and angel....
Send me an angel,
Send me and angel....
Familiar lyrics filled my head as I tried to wake up my mind. It was Send Me An Angel. What I had been listening to in the bar, while cleaning up. But, I wasn't in the bar anymore. The place I was in was cooler, and smelt much cleaner compared to the bar, even if it was just cleaned. I was leaning against something very warm, and was also wrapped up in something warm as well. I could hear the song still and my eyebrows knitting together as I tried to think over what was going on. Finally opening my eyes, I was looking into a very familiar blue up lifted collar.
Looking up, I saw Cloud looking out at the pink and orange sky of sunrise, through the large hole in the roof of the church. He had my iPod headphones in his ears and I could hear him listening to the song. I was lying on my side, arms tucked up to my chest. I could feel Cloud had a leg on with side of my own, judging by the warmth surrounded all of me. His arms were around my shoulder, keeping me tucked up to him as he leaned against one of the fallen pillars. Taking in a deep breath, Cloud's sent filled my lungs, making me smile softly. Though, it also seemed to have alerted him that I was awake.
"Aki?" Pulling the headphones out of his ears, he looked down at him to see if he was right about my awakening. I nodded my head against his shoulder, only then realizing then he wasn't wearing the shoulder guard like usual.
"You blacked out. I brought you here to the church, so that when you woke up, we could heal your Stigma." Reluctantly, I pulled myself away from Cloud to be able to look at him more clearly. My gaze then turned toward the small pond that was inside the church. The cure for Geostigma. Looking back over to Cloud, I saw that he had had the both of us wrapped up in a blanket to keep us warm. I nodded, carefully getting to my feet as I avoided stepping on my right foot. As soon as I tried to walk forward, I stumbled from the pressure, but was then lifted into the air in the next instant.
"Cloud!" Lifting me into his arms, Cloud carried me over to the pool of water. Stopping at the edge, he turned so that his back was facing the pool of water. "Cloud? What are you doing?" And at that moment, for the first time, I actually saw Cloud Strife smile. Not the grin that he sometimes used when talking with the guys, or the smirk when he was fighting against an opponent. A real smile.
But that was only a small surprise.
The real surprise, was when he suddenly lowered his face down to mine and pressed his lips to my own. I was shocked at how smooth they actually were. My eyes widened as warmth spread through my whole form, before we were suddenly falling. Cloud had purposely fallen backward, the both of us falling toward the water.
The air cut off from around us as we hit the water, soaking us both to the bone. But the water was actually surprisingly warm. I could feel when Cloud moved, releasing my legs and shifting his arms to wrap around my waist. My own arms came up to embrace his neck as I pulled him down closer to me. I could see the warm tingling around my ankle and calf and knew that my geostigma was no longer going to be a problem for me. Lifting my hand to the back of his head, I buried my fingers into his hair, that was flowing in the shifting water, pulling his lips closer to mine.
Though reluctantly, we were forced to pull away from one another to soon to go up for air. Breaking for air, I took in a deep breath of the clear air the flowed throughout the church, hearing when Cloud broke to the surface next to me. I couldn't stop the smile that came to my lips as I dove toward him, pushing us both back into the water as I wrapped my arms around him tightly. I could feel his arms come around my waist once more, spinning me around in the water.
"Thank you, Cloud." Burying my face in his neck, his arms tightened on my waist as he carried me back over toward the edge of the water. The air in the church as definitely cooler than it had been when I first woke up, the water on my skin getting colder and colder. As soon as Cloud reached the edge, I laid down onto the wooden floors, bringing Cloud down so that he was lying on top of me. "Really, thank you." And there was that smile once again. We were nose to nose as we looking into each other's eyes, his sky blue ones dancing.
"Anytime." Tugging on the back of his neck once more, I pulled him down to me again, feeling those smooth lips touch my own. I smiled into the kiss as I gently ran my fingers through his hair. Without even looking, I knew that his spikes had pretty much flattened against his head as I ran my fingers through the slick, golden strands.
It looks like heaven sent me my angel.