Sorry about the delay, lads. You know what us studenty uncommitted writers are like T_T

This may be subject to edits in the next few days, but screw it it's done enough right now. Enjoy.

Also a little mature in here, young girls and boys who do not like this kind of business back off until they're legal. Otherwise knock yourself out.

Tifa Lockheart was kissing the man who personified the one thing that she had hated most in the world – the thing that had destroyed her life. She was kissing him, and she was enjoying it.

More important was the question of where Rufus Shinra had learned to kiss like this? Somehow she'd hoped that he'd be awful and clumsy and try to force himself on her and she'd knock him back with one almighty punch and he would spend the rest of his days in a sexual offenders' camp.

Not making her weak at the knees, and smelling really nice, and having a touch so delicate she wondered why she hadn't missed all of that stuff.

It was his fault, absolutely his fault for being all of the above, and making her open her mouth just a tiny bit. Although she wasn't kissing him back.


"Miss Lockhart," he hissed seductively as he pulled his lips away from hers for a moment. "A tango is much more enjoyable when both partners dance."

"Wha-" was the only thing she had the opportunity to say before he captured her parted lips fully, and his tongue darted out again to remind her that his last remark had been an instruction. Then there was a moment of suspended time, where she reeled through the condensed timeline of her life and saw how little romance and intimacy it really had. She was always bloody fighting, or failing that, making dinner or doing favors or watching out for someone.

The most she ever did for herself was curl up on a sofa with a mug of cocoa and watch mindless romantic-comedy films while someone else took the kids out. Her dreams had always matched those films – happy endings, husbands, soul-mates, children and pets in domestic heaven – if that was what she'd always wanted how had she ended up where she was? The thought that what she had now was going to be it terrified her: no children of her own but all the stress and worry of having them while others reaped the ups, and in love with a man who seemed incapable of loving her (or anyone?) back.

She was in happy-ending limbo.

So, perhaps, she thought in this fragment of decision-making time, perhaps she could just let go for one kiss and to hell with who it was with she could just feel like an attractive, desired woman for once.

Because living with Cloud made her doubt that much more than she ever cared to admit. She wasn't beautiful like Aerith had been, and if their hands or legs should accidentally touch at home sometimes, he would always just move away – she'd started to believe maybe she just wasn't attractive enough. The few times they'd both been drunk – her usually much more than him – and she'd tried to start something, it was always a polite decline and suggestion that perhaps they should go to bed now.

But here was just one man who thought she was beautiful, he'd told her and he was showing her, and in that moment she took the bait, because she needed it. She kissed him back.

Bit him back, as something of the loathing in her for him made an interjection in her open-mouth-kissing Rufus Shinra, though surprisingly at this his fingers suddenly tightened and dug into her hips and he let out a short, flustered half-breath over her moist lips.

'So you like that,' she thought and after a nerve-wracked second, fearful of rejection or doing it wrong or overstepping the mark, she tilted her head slightly to drag her teeth harder along his lower lip, and suddenly he lifted a hand and cupped it around the back of her head; crushing her lips against his as his tongue probed further and more desperately into her mouth. She discovered now that for the first time she held a couple of cards in this poker game of emotions.

She wasn't sure exactly how long she was there, standing in the middle of a disused office in the ruined SHINRA office making out with the President, but she knew it was long enough to make her conscience do a dancing jig in its grave.

It was also long enough for her tingling legs to provide very little resistance to being coaxed towards the President's leather armchair, however when she realized what he was doing she pulled away immediately.

"I don't know what you're thinking but-" she started insistently, but lost herself when he grinned a million-gil grin and placed a very hot and hard kiss on her neck, and the sensitive skin curdled with the contact.

She felt him sucking gently to draw her skin between his perfectly modeled teeth and then pinching them together, and she thought she might really have fallen over if he hadn't been pulling her down to the chair with him.

She never realized until that day how sensitive her neck was, and that somehow Rufus had managed to find the softest and most tender spot in under a minute. She clenched her jaw to stop herself from making any untoward sounds, but as he tugged her to kneel on the chair, over his lap, he drew his tongue across another hotspot and she had to put her hands on his shoulders to push him away – she couldn't handle any more and this time it was she who pulled him into a kiss. A hot and messy one that made him so inclined to wrap his hands around her waist again and slowly push her hips down over his

That made her want to run away; she desperately wantedto want to run away. But it was like seven years of sexual repression had all been unraveled at once and she was made drunk on the thought that she was the one who was turning him on. Not beautiful Aerith, intelligent Lucrecia or athletic and daring Yuffie: girl-next-door-Tifa who knew Rufus Shinra liked to be bitten and thought that she was a beautiful woman when she was being argumentative.

Her legs relaxed just a little more and she was more malleable and easily molded, and with a short pant as he squeezed his eyes shut Rufus put more force down on her hips and ground them over his. He started to become vulnerable to her, she realized, as his breath shortened and other things hardened – he was losing the control he'd assumed to have all this time, she was unraveling him.

"Mi-ss Loc-k…" he panted as he caught her lips and they moved together slickly; they were getting accustomed to kissing each other and it became a (dare she say it) more natural act as they learnt the ropes of the other's mouth.

"Shhhh," she could only hiss as the fingers of one of her hands crawled around his neck and began to insinuate themselves underneath his collar. She didn't want him to speak, she didn't want to remember who he was – he was just sensation to her, not Rufus Shinra…

She was snapped back to reality by a sharp zipping sound, which was in fact a zip, but not any zip, it was the zip of her top. True she was wearing a faded blue tank top underneath, but the situation remained that a man had just started the removal of part of her clothes. Not just a man either, that man.

"What are you doing?" she whispered tensely, realizing that perhaps she had gotten herself thrown back in way beyond her depth.

"I... think I've found a condition in which you are even more beautiful than when you argue with me," he murmured, out of breath, drawing her vest apart so he could be fully winded by the breasts that launched a thousand wet dreams – how could this woman not realize the way men lusted after her? Why had she been so easy to crack with just a few compliments, was Strife really that uninterested?

"It's when you're lusting." He chuckled and pulled back a little to look into her desire-tainted eyes: she was enjoying this, and that only made him enjoy it even more.

Tentatively, and after flexing his hand other to make sure his fingers weren't too cold, Rufus lifted the bottom of Tifa's top and ran his fingertips across her soft and sunless skin, feeling the indent of her navel and tracing his fingers up along the centerline of her body, eventually splaying them under her breasts. Tifa gasped and flexed her spine, pushing her chest up into his hand very slightly. Taking this as an assent to go further, Rufus started to push up the light cotton shirt and kissed her neck again, sucking on one spot hard enough to pull up a purple-red mark she would be frantic to cover up later.

Tifa's hands would've shaken had she not been shoving them respectively down the back of Rufus's shirt collar and up it from the waist, and rather to her surprise she didn't feel the smooth, daily-moisturized skin only the filthy rich can have, and that she'd fully expected, but an uneven net of misshapen scars: more marks of WEAPON on him. Her fingers butted against ridges and stitch-marks as she explored his torso – the first male torso she'd touched skin to skin without an orb of heal materia in her belt for a long time – and she realized she was touching a deeply scarred man, and not just on the surface.

His strongest front of attack had also become his vice, because Tifa learnt that a flick and roll of her hips over his could reduce Rufus to a groaning pile of tissue; here he had no words, not that she had any of her own with him being so infuriatingly good at what he was doing, but as his shirt buttons twisted open one by one and he found her very quickly bra-less, she realized somewhere in the recesses of her mind that they were equal in this situation now.

However it might have started or shifted, he wanted her, and she wanted him for wanting her, and he'd pushed her thin cotton shirt half-way up and she'd forced his waistcoat and shirt down to his elbows and they still couldn't stop kissing each other.

Tifa noticed after a while that whenever she tried to lean out and look at Rufus's whole upper body, he would somehow stop her or obscure her view; even though she'd felt the state of him already, and his pants and groans had been more than enough to let her know that he'd enjoyed it immensely, she could sense that he didn't want her to look at him in the harsh daylight… could he be embarrassed about not looking perfect?

Everyone had scars; even she knew that, (although she was lucky in spite of her appearance not to be a girl who scarred too easily) and she attempted to show this to him by grabbing one of his hands by the wrist and guiding it to a raised line all the way up her side that had been cut with none other than the Murasame. His soft fingertips detected this and he traced them along the tissue curiously as their lips clumsily parted.

"It's fine," she breathed and went back in to kiss him, but his hands warped around to grab hers tightly and he shifted his mouth back. "I don't care," she added, "we're all the same..."

"I'm not," he hissed, and then as he moved to drag his shirt back up and re-do it, so Tifa did a bold thing and pinned his arms inside the armrests of the chair with her knees, pushing him back in the chair, and then firmly leaned out to end the silly subject by looking at him once and for all. He couldn't have it only ways he wanted, now they were both trapped in this thing.

To her disgust, she had to stop herself from crying out for a second. Scarred was one thing, but Rufus was reconstructed. There were patches of what could only be artificial flesh held on with heavy metal stitches, chunks of his body that were obviously missing and torn from him and deep mottled gashes that only high-speed flying broken glass can cause scored across his stomach. His face may have been made to look as if new to the unassuming eye, but his body was broken.

As soon as she saw, and the blood drained from her face, Rufus's eyes hardened and he suddenly stopped being so inviting and encouraging of affection, in fact he seemed as if he might like to avoid it all together.

"Go if you must," he snapped furiously as he rustled his shirt back over his ravaged chest, as if he expected her to run squealing from the room from the awful freak currently situated between her legs, and he flapped a hand carelessly towards the door. But he had forgotten Tifa knew Vincent, this was admittedly bad, but Vincent tore open his own body to turn into Chaos, and she had seen worse. She simply hadn't expected it on him, and the shock had blown away some of her assumptions.

She reached out to take hold of his directing hand, and gently pulled it away from the direction of the door and towards herself and her body – his fingers curling inquisitively with the action. She leant over and just before speaking let out a hot and humid breath on his ear, and then after she anxiously licked her lips she dared to speak words she never expected to hear herself say.

"I'd like to… forget for a while…" she whispered in his ear, and trailed her other hand down the opening of his shirt forgivingly, "what it's like... to be me."

He paused and did not push her away, or move so much as a muscle, but she could feel him relax bit by bit, and then he finally murmured, "I can do that." As she finally guided his hand to her chest and he pressed it into warm and soft flesh. Mouths met again and soon shirts, waistcoats and tanktops were one and the same on the floor, and she really didn't want to think about being half-naked where she was with who she was with… but it was hard to ignore when he had his hand directly over one of her breasts.

She was pleased in some sick part of her mind when he quite deliberately put both his hands at the waistband of her shorts and pushed it down, and reached further into the crotch with a single hand, because she couldn't go back now so her runaway-train mind just wanted to go as far as possible before the track ran out. However, she was very displeased when he, also very deliberately, stopped everything and leered forwards to whisper in her ear.

"Are you going to beg, Miss Lockhart?" he questioned degenerately as she hopelessly tried to generate some friction and move against him, but he held her away and purposely deprived her (and himself) in order to see who would crack first. Tifa bit his ear in retaliation, not gently, and then ran her tongue around it, and Rufus lost the stand-off spectacularly by moaning jaggedly and grabbing hold of one of her wrists to shove down in the direction of his pants.

"You win..." he hissed, as she tentatively reached down and palmed a certain part of the anatomy – thankfully spared the damage of WEAPON – and clumsily pulling apart the fly. Every push and squeeze drove a raspy groan out of him, and hastened his hands' course into her shorts, past the aching dampness of underwear into the slick center of her sin and degeneracy – this was why she was where she was now. But she didn't care, couldn't care. They were reduced to nothing more than the screaming apes of their instincts; no class, no hatred, no memories. Two people simply tearing pleasure out of each other, like they'd never felt it before.

Why did it have to be him? She asked herself, as they spiraled deeper into the pit of no return and notable items of clothing were thrown away – marked offensive by the deity of passion – and Tifa knew in the back of her mind where this was going to end up. Where else could it end up? No Shinra had ever done things by halves, and this Shinra was no different.

But when had he stopped being the immaculate suit she so hated, and become the pockmarked creature holding her like she'd longed to be held? Why did she always end up attached to damaged people?

She screamed when he finally did it – no more gags or fooling around; this was about obtaining one thing – and they connected the way that people like them were not supposed to connect. With Cloud, the man she loved, perhaps, but not with Rufus. Never with Rufus.

Which only made it too bad that it was happening, really. Again, and again, and again.

It also hurt, which it had every right to do, but it added an edge that she had not expected to cut her as hard as it did, and she ended up with her face in the crook of his neck; crying and gasping from both pleasure and pain. And he held her through this, his hands strong and his body cold and scarred – at least some body parts had been protected in the blast – and genuinely holding her as she cried everything apart.

Too long holding back, being gentle, waiting patiently had made her into this, and with his goddamn interference everything had fallen to pieces. She felt like she was being destroyed, but she couldn't stop doing it, and she could stop begging – yes, now she begged – for more, harder, faster, don't stop...

She hated it, and she loved it. He took her entire body and turned it all onto one thing – the last time she had done that was in the fight for her life, but this was so much better, as hateful as it was to say.

It wasn't really surprising to realize that – as she shattered at last and he took everything apart and put it back together in an almost painful climax, screaming into his mouth and tearing at the scars in his skin like emergency-stop cords – that this had been a long time coming.

She felt wanted by him, needed, even, and there was no mistake about who was making him feel this good, or who was responsible for his groans and equally surrendering pleas to keep doing what she was doing, even after she had been and gone herself. There was no mistaking who made him come at last, and whose name – first name – was on his lips as it all came crashing down. 'Tifa.' He knew. He'd always known.

They stopped like a toy with the batteries suddenly knocked out, what had been spasmodic, desperate motions only minutes earlier turned into shallow, broken breaths and sweat-coated skin against cold air. It was impossible to tell how long they had to remain there, sticking together in the wind-down and panting until they could breathe normally again. Tifa moved her hands and realized they were shaking.

"What have I done?" she whispered to herself; horrified, disgusted, repulsed.

"I have no idea," Rufus replied suddenly – the question had not been for him, but he had answered anyway, "but if you do it again, I fear it might kill me."

"I would never!" she said guiltily, trying to move away and remembering that he hadn't even pulled out yet; how humiliating.

His returning look said as much.

"What... have I...?" she gasped, frightened by what she had done and how powerless she'd been to stop it. Was lust that powerful a master?

"Do not deny," he said calmly, as they moved apart and she collapsed coldly to the floor, not even bothering to cover herself, "that you wanted it." He ran his hands along his own contusions, and then quickly pulled his shirt back up; also redoing his pants.

Tifa sat on the floor blinking like a fawn; unable to process what was happening to her.

"Miss Lockhart," Rufus said. "As much as I appreciate your naked body, you might consider redressing."

Tifa knew suddenly that she was going to cry, and in a horrible rush she scrambled for her clothes and dragged them on – almost unable to move for the shame that filled her – and ran towards the door.

"Miss Lockhart!" he called after her. She imagined he was going to tell her she needed the key, but she did not want to face him ever again, and it was only a wooden door that stood between her and escape, and she had broken far stronger than things than this before.

She picked up speed, and rammed the door with her shoulder, hitting it with a crack.

She had no energy or strength left; it did not budge one bit – shoddy in appearance, but this office was fitted out properly – and she merely slammed into the wood, hit it hard, next the floor, and then burst into tears: what had she done?

She could not stop this like she could not stop anything – she couldn't stop Cloud leaving, she couldn't stop Sephiroth, she couldn't stop herself now... she couldn't even stop Cid smoking, so she certainly couldn't stop herself crying in front of someone she was supposed to hate.

She hit the floor almost as hard as she hit the door and covered her face with her hands; noisy, obvious, and hopelessly emotional and typically female. She was a mess, and that was before she even started to think about why she'd let what had just happened happen.

"Ah," Rufus said quietly, and Tifa heard the footsteps – dear Gaia, he hadn't even taken off his shoes – coming close to her.

"Stay away," she sobbed. "Don't look at me." She heard a pocket rustle, and then something soft brushed against her hand; a handkerchief. She snatched it humbly and pressed it against her eyes – why couldn't she stop crying?! The more she tried to stop the worse it got, and tears poured out of her eyes and her chest would not stop heaving.

Rufus had to admit, he had never predicted things would end up like this – that he would sleep with Lockhart? A little, maybe. That it would be what it was for them both? Not really. But that she would cry like this? Never. If this were his fault he would almost feel encouraged to apologize.

He stood up, and she heard more sounds, followed by the distinct click of a lock turning in the door. She supposed she was free to go now.

However, before she could move, she felt his hand on her shoulder.

"Whatever... this is," he said calmly – not sympathetic, but almost softly enough to make her think he just might give a shit. "I am sure you will find an answer. People do not stay unhappy forever, Lockhart, and I believe you will find what you are looking for."

Could she? She wasn't sure, but that hand on her shoulder felt like the only thing that was real enough to be trusted, and for no more than twenty seconds she grabbed his arm, threw herself against his chest and cried so hard it made her sick.

She pulled away, wiped her face, dropped the handkerchief on the floor and stood up.

"Goodbye," she said shallowly, putting her hand on the doorknob.

"Wait," he said urgently as she started to open the door. "You have forgotten..." Tifa didn't listen, she didn't want to listen. She just needed to go.

It was only when she reached the street that she realized what she'd left behind – apart from her dignity. How could she have been so stupid? Her body had been so numb, and the need to run so desperate, that she had managed to leave without her underwear. She was duller than she'd thought.

She only prayed nothing would... Gaia, it was disgusting even thinking about it, until she could get home and lock herself in the bathroom for an hour or so.

When Tifa got home again, she cried once more – hiding in the bathroom and covering the sound with running water, lying in a tub so hot that the steam came out from underneath the door. She soaked until the water was almost lukewarm – barely moving, just basking in the heat and trying to erase every mark from her body – and then filled it up with hot again.

Her skin wrinkled and the tank eventually ran out of hot water, but it was only when she heard a voice downstairs (the bar had been empty when she'd arrived) that she got out, squeezing her wet hair dry on a towel and running across the hall to her room for a fresh set of clothes. She would later throw away everything she had worn to the Shinra HQ that day.

"Tifa?" Cloud's voice – of all people – echoed up from downstairs, as she stuffed herself into tracksuit bottoms and a tank-top. "You in?"

"Yes!" she replied, surprised by how normal she sounded. She stared at herself in the mirror on the way out; why did she feel like something was different?

"Why is everything...?"

"I just had a bath!" she explained, jogging down the stairs and nearly running into him at the foot. He took a step back automatically and stared at her.

Oh god. He could tell.

"Oh, yeah," he said dumbly. "Well. I had a delivery canceled so..."

"Oh. That's good," she replied cheerfully – whose voice was that speaking?

"Where are...?"

"Marlene has band practice and Denzel stays at school to walk her home," she said automatically; she didn't even have to think about their schedules, she just knew.



Normally, in this kind of a situation Tifa would talk to him; draw him into a conversation. But she couldn't not now; after what she'd done to him; to both of them. They were silent, and she barely moved from her position at the bottom of the stairs.

"Did you..." he started awkwardly, "use a new shampoo or something?"

"What?" she said in confusion.

"Oh, I just mean," he muttered, looking a little like he regretted saying anything at all. "You look quite..."

Betraying? Heartless? Pathetic?


"Nice?!" she wasn't able to mask her shock – in over three years Cloud had not said she looked 'nice' more than five times, and four of those had been when she asked him.

"Uh, I just mean..." He glanced about furtively. "You just look kinda... I d'nno."

"Different?" she probed. He could tell, he could definitely tell.

"Yeah." He was quiet for a second. "In a good way, though."

She noticed that he was looking right at her, and she suddenly felt very conscious in the tank-top; she still had no bra, and she could still feel his touch against her. Why did he have to be like this now? Was she emitting some kind of pheromone that made him think she looked prettier, one that could only be released after having sex?

"Hey, what's that on your neck?" Cloud asked suddenly.


"There." He pointed. "It looks painful."

Shit. Goddamn Rufus Shinra! He had left marks on her neck!

"Ah!" she cried, covering her neck with her hands and praying there wasn't anything giving the game away anywhere else. Why hadn't she noticed them in the mirror?! What was wrong with her? "It's just a rash," she lied. "I think I got it off Marlene. You know how things get passed around schools."

Cloud didn't know, why would he know? But hopefully he didn't know enough to buy it. She watched his face carefully for signs that he didn't believe her.

"Oh," was all he said, and it seemed she had gotten away with it.

"I'll just go and put a sweater on," she said apologetically. "I don't want to give it to you, do I?" At the 'sweater' comment his face could almost be remarked to fall, and as she turned on her heels and ran back upstairs Tifa swore she heard him say 'pity' to himself.

The kids came back soon after, and Marlene – excited that Cloud was back early – insisted that they all play 'Chocobo trap'. Tifa tucked herself into the big sweater of Barette's she usually only wore when she was sick, and tried to A – avoid the funny looks Cloud was giving her, and B – act normal so Marlene and Denzel wouldn't think there was anything wrong.

She wanted to act normal because this was what she wanted; moments like these were what she'd always craved – happy families. Like this, they could almost be convincing as a family, but she very nearly cried again, because no matter what, that thing was always going to be there. She was always going to have had sex with Rufus Shinra in his goddam leather office chair; no reason, no explanation, all consenting. She had slept with him with her own free will and she had screamed and moaned and begged him to do it more.

The things she had said would not leave her mind, and the things she'd felt were burned in her memory forever – there was no way she would ever forget. So she pretended she had forgotten – that was the best thing to do, and she carried on like everything was all right.

But everything was not all right. It was so far from all right it could be accurately described as all wrong.

A week and a half after that afternoon – ten days after Rufus had sent her that charming package. Tifa hung over the toilet bowl with more tears (would they ever stop again?) running down her face, and the last thing she ever expected to be crying over in her hand.

A pregnancy test.

"Oh Gaia," she whispered as she stared at the two blue lines. "Oh Aerith." Was Aerith listening? She could sure use some help right now, and Aerith always knew what to say. "What have I done?"

There were a few things Tifa was sure of.

She would never throw away something she had longed for her whole life. Something that dear to her. A child of her own blood, from her own body.

She would love it more than anything she'd ever loved or ever would.

People would see blonde hair, blue eyes. They would assume things. They would assume Cloud Strife, even if he'd never confirm it himself. He would stay quiet just to protect her, she was sure of that.

Fair hair? Blue eyes? Who would ever know the truth?

It was just another lie to lock away in her heart.

Leave a review if it pleases you to do so. It pleases me. In sexual ways ;) Eeehhhey.