I think there is going to be only a few more chapters of this one, so please get your reviews in now!
Sorry it's taken me so long to write more of this one, and it seems purely by chance I have written a seasonal chapter.
Tifa collapsed on the bed, hands coming to rest on her swollen stomach, breathing deeply. "I can't believe it…"
Vincent grinned to himself as he closed the door, shaking off his coat and crossing to the room's only window. Snow was falling in rapid flurries outside, little piles of it lining each of the glass panels of the window. Past the frozen panes, he could make out the sea of pine trees, coated with white, the little white lights blinking pathetically underneath their blanket of snow. Icicle town truly was something to behold at Christmas.
It was just over a year since his operation; the scar tissue had faded to barely a white mark, and he had gained full dexterity in it. Tifa had put him to good use, not allowing the opportunity for a pair of good working hands to go to waste; they had painted her house from top to bottom, shifted about furniture, moving Vincent's few belongings from his apartment to her house. They saw little point in living apart, after everything. He'd had no reservations about it either.
"You mean you can't believe how many times you fell on your backside snowboarding? Or how many pastries you managed to eat? Because for both, I can't believe it either-" He dodged a pillow Tifa had hurled at his head.
"I won though, didn't I? Plus, all those extra calories are more of an incentive to do more snow boarding!"
He raised his eyebrows, chuckling to himself as he passed into the large en-suite bathroom of their rented cottage to set the hot tap running. After a few moments, he returned to the bedroom. Tifa was snoozing lightly, arms and legs spread about her. He smirked.
Tomorrow was Christmas day. As an early present two days ago, he had presented her with an envelope, containing two airship tickets to icicle town, and a pass card for its notorious snowboarding slopes. He recalled that when Avalanche had passed through the snow-coated idyllic town eight years ago, Tifa had enjoyed snowboarding. It had made her happy for the moment, in spite of everything; the fact that she had still not told Cloud how she felt, that Aeris was dead, and that they were likely to face their own deaths in the crater. She had been free.
Wrapped up in a bubble of orange that she called a 'snow-suit', she had whooshed and whizzed down the slopes, more often than not finding herself on her backside, as Vincent passed on his skis, a little more adept at remaining vertical than she was, (though primarily it was by luck he fell over when she wasn't looking).
Yesterday evening they had entered into the town's man square, wrapped up in coats and scarves, to eat out. Being away from home, Vincent became quite conscious of how people perceived Tifa and himself. He received no strange stares; instead, people continued about their business. Tifa received a few sideward glances however, though he was well aware it was nothing to do with a brass arm, or startling red eyes. She looked radiant; pink cheeks, glowing ivory skin, warm amber eyes, cast alight by the twinkling lights strung from the eaves of the town's little snow-caked cottages. And he couldn't have been more grateful to the working forces that had brought them together.
She woke at the call of her name. Raising her head and glancing around her with bleary eyes, she saw Vincent smiling at her, leaning on the door of the bathroom. She could smell cinnamon, hot water and a faint trace of match sulphur.
"Bath oil?" She questioned, unwinding her scarf from around her neck. He nodded. "Candles?" He nodded again, as she shrugged of her coat, and tugged her jumper over her head. "You're an angel." She stepped out of the rest of her clothes.
"Only for you," He chuckled, holding the door ajar for her. She placed a foot in gingerly. On deciding her skin wouldn't blister, she stepped in, and lay down, submerging herself for a moment. The bathroom ceiling was lit orange with candlelight, swimming in a distorted manner above her.
"This was a great present, Vincent," She sighed contentedly, putting her feet up on the rim of the bath. "I worry about what you'll think about your Christmas present now."
"It doesn't matter what you've gotten me." He hid a smirk.
They were both silent for a time, simply enjoying one another's company. He liked that best about Tifa; she knew when to leave him to his own thoughts. She would only probe if she felt it necessary. A swift glance found her dozing in the bath, hair spilling over the side, her feet crossed at the ankles, resting on the rim of the bath.
Just over a year being together had brought them an easy relationship; they didn't argue, they spent nearly all of their time together, and Vincent found he took well to all the things he would once have been irrationally uneasy about; sleeping together, cooking, sharing personal space. Domesticity. It wasn't so bad; in fact, it was better than that.
He treat making love to her (in his mind at least) with a small measure of disbelief; she was still so perfect, so delicate. Something he felt he wasn't sure he deserved. But she gave herself to him so willingly, or sometimes, to his secret pleasure, she would take it from him, and after the long, wonderful year, he'd gotten quite attached.
And there was no way he was going to let it get away from him.
"….hmm…" The room was still dark, a weak grey light permeating the heavy curtains of the little cottage's bedroom. The fire had burned down to embers, the faintest of amber glows still present. He'd guess the time to be about six.
"Oh? Wow, I'd almost forgotten." He grunted sarcastically, pulling the goose feather pillow he lay on over his head. He heard Tifa laugh, felt her shift beside him. Cooler air wafted in as she moved. Then she started to beat him about the head with his own pillow.
"Please get up! I want to give you your present!" He rolled onto his back, squinting at her through the light of the bedside lamp she had switched on. "Please?" She pouted. He noted her cherry red silk nightdress, and how attractive she looked, with ruffled hair. As if she'd just made love. He suddenly found himself wanted to make it true.
"Alright then," He conceded. She squealed, jumping down from the bed and fetching an armful of presents from the corner, where a miniature Christmas tree had been erected. He noticed the lights had been turned on, and they twinkled innocently to themselves.
"This one is for you!" Barely giving him enough time to sit up, she thrust an envelope under his nose.
"A card? Tifa, you shouldn't have." He ignored her sarcastic laugh as he slid his nail under the seal. Inside, there was a card, upon which there were two cats, one who was watching an aeroplane in the sky from out of a tinsel adorned window. He chuckled at her choice of card, and opened it.
Inside it read;
I know you liked travelling with us in Avalanche, but perhaps it was never the best time for sightseeing. Perhaps you would enjoy it better, just you and I.
I love you,
Clipped to the inside of the card, were two airship tickets, for all over the world.
"Tifa, this is…" He struggled to find words.
"I thought it would be fun to go travelling, just me and you."
"It's a fantastic idea. I can't wait."
"It'd be good to do it, you know, before…"
"Before things start getting in the way."
"I'm not sure I follow."
"Of course you're not following. Here, let me explain. Progressively, in a few months, it's going to get harder for me to do anything at all."
"Tifa?" The expression he wore was one not daring to believe the truth in her words.
"I'm pregnant Vincent-- Its still only early days, but the test I did four days ago was positive."
"Oh, Tifa…" He pulled her into his arms, squeezing her tightly, both laughing and crying. "Open this, now."
He present her with a box, wrapped in red paper, that rattled dully when she shook it. She ripped off the paper, and lifted the lid of the box, to find inside, to her bewilderment, another smaller box. This process went on, until she was getting quite frustrated, Vincent laughing all the while beside her, hand resting on her stomach. Eventually, she reached the centre. Nestled amongst tissue paper, there was a red velvet circular box.
He picked out the box delicately, placed it in her open palm. She opened it, mouth falling open at the sight of the most beautiful diamond ring she had ever seen. He reached over, plucked it out with his thumb and index finger, taking her left hand in his and sliding it onto her finger.
"Tifa, Will you marry me?"