words in Bold and Italics are lyrics of; Paramore - Turn it Off
Her head was lowered, a curtain of black veiling an ivory face. Pale fingers toyed with the half empty glass in front of her, tracing lines in the condensation. She was supposed to be working. She was sure this wasn't good for business, drinking at your own bar, but considering the circumstances she could care less.
I scraped my knees while I was praying…
She lifted the glass lazily and gazed into the brown liquid, twirling the ice around. Within seconds the liquid was consumed, a burning path of liquid fire down her throat. The glass was slammed against the bar hard enough to crack. She winced, scowling at her now bleeding palm.
And found a demon in my safest haven
With a sigh she trudged behind the bar, her booted feet thumping loudly on the hardwood floor. She fished for the first aid kit, hidden in the back where dust bunnies and empty bottles lingered. Blowing the dust from the kit she popped it open, groaning in annoyance. Empty.
Seems like its getting harder to believe in anything
The fighter tossed the barren kit into the adjacent trashcan with a growl. What the hell did they need it for anyway? Whenever anyone was injured, no matter how minor, she would always take care of things. Whether it be a simple band-aid and kiss on the cheek or the euphoric waves of a cure spell, their flower girl was there for them.
And just to get lost in all my selfish thoughts
She forced a smile. Their flower girl. Never hers…always theirs. Tifa never did like to share things, let alone with him.
What was so damn special about him anyway?
I wanna know what it'd be like…
Tifa groaned inwardly and plopped back down onto a bar seat, propping her chin up in her palm. She watched in mild amusement as her finger slowly dripped blood onto the bar top. When a bloody smiley face was grinning back at her she laughed, a choked sob, and smeared the morbid artwork into oblivion.
To find perfection in my pride, to see nothing in the light
Was this really what she was reduced to? Some crying, self-destructive little girl? All over something she couldn't have, no less. And so the question remains in the back of her head; is it better to love and lost, or to not love at all? The brunette snickered to herself, clenching her wounded hand tight. Tifa Lockhart, melancholy poet. Zangan would be furious.
But turn it off in all my spite…
Tifa was so wrapped up in her thoughts that the sound of the bar door swinging open and clanging metal was oblivious to her. Only when she smelled the faint scent of flowers did her heart beat pick up, muscles tensing and jaw clenching.
In all my spite, I'll turn it off
Lithe, warm fingers ghosted the back of Tifa's neck to around her shoulder, the hand softly resting there. "Hey."
Tifa turned slightly to look over her shoulder, eyes brightening just a bit when her flower girl came into view, emerald and wine red gazes meeting. "Hey yourself."
Aerith smiled and Tifa could've sworn her heart stopped at the sight of it. The older girl's hair was tousled a bit, her dress dirty with mud around the edges and knees; a tell tale sign she was tending to her garden again.
And the worst part is, before it gets any better
"Where's Barret?" Tifa's gaze was torn by the stoic voice of the blonde she came to love and hate with all her heart. Cloud Strife, ex-mercenary, savior of the world, ever persistent thorn in her side. His Mako hued eyes drifted from the brunette sitting at the bar and the bar top itself. He crinkled his nose, almost as if he was able to smell the blood.
We're headed for a cliff…
Aerith's gaze followed the blonde's and she gasped softly, her hand coming from Tifa's shoulder to cover her mouth. Blood was smeared over the bar, a few drips trailing down the side. Tifa grimaced and threw a glare in the blonde's direction. Ice met fire as they stared at one another, Tifa silently stewing while Cloud stood as impassive as ever.
The brunette sighed, shoulders slumping at the accusation in Aerith's voice. She didn't need to see the flower girl to know the disappoint that shown on her face. She could hear it in her voice, almost as if she were asking "why"?
And in the free fall I will realize
Cloud's metal clad boots echoed in the thickening silence as he stomped to the pinball machine, hitting the switch underneath it. Tifa watched his spikey hair disappear below the floor boards to AVALANCHE's meeting room. As the game console slowly rose back up Tifa steeled herself for the questioning she knew was to come.
"Tifa, come sit with me?"
She sighed again and stood. Wine met forest green again and Tifa hesitated a step. Aerith, noting the stiffened posture, smiled and chuckled softly.
"What's wrong, Teef? I won't bite."
The brunette blanched, a bright blush colouring pale cheeks.
"Wha-what?" Teef? What?
Aerith laughed openly now and her voice sounded like a thousand chimes in Tifa's ears. She shivered.
"Tifa Lockhart, are you blushing?"
"I-I am not!" With a huff she pulled out the chair across from the flower girl and sat, crossing her arms and instantly regretting that decision. She yelped and pulled her injured hand back, inspecting the wound. Feeling eyes on her Tifa looked up, blush coming back full force at the disapproving gaze Aerith was giving her.
I'm better off when I hit the bottom
"Oh, Teef…" Aerith reached out and gently took Tifa's hand in her own. She turned her hand palm up, thumb softly grazing the split skin, unaware of Tifa's widening gaze. "Why would you do this to yourself? What if it scars?"
The fighter tensed, swallowing back the sob that threatened to escape. Instead she laughed bitterly. "What's it matter. I can just add it to my collection."
Aerith's grip tightened.
"Don't…" It came out softly, almost a whisper, and Tifa had to lean closer to hear her.
"Don't…don't talk about your body like that. How can you just not care?" Emerald eyes shone with unshed tears bore into Tifa's.
The fighter looked away, ashamed. "I—"
"Look at me."
Tifa's gaze settled on the table they sat at.
"Tifa, please. Look at me."
The tragedy it seems unending
Slowly she lifted her gaze, a pained whimper coming from her throat at the sight that met her.
Aerith was silently crying, tears streaking down smooth cheeks to collect at her chin. Her eyes, while always a vibrant green, seemed to sparkle as more tears surfaced.
Tifa nearly jumped out of her seat but Aerith held fast, guiding her back down. Despite her tears she smiled and giggled at Tifa's over-protectiveness.
I'm watching everyone I looked up to breaking, bending
"I know you don't seem to care about your well being, but some of us do. And I refuse to sit here while you bleed out all over your bar. It's just not sanitary." She grinned, giving Tifa's hand an affectionate squeeze.
Tifa let out the breath she didn't know she was holding as Aerith broke the tension around them. She lowered her gaze to their intertwined fingers and sighed.
"I'm sorry. I…I didn't think. I was just so, so…"
Chewing on her bottom lip Tifa hesitantly lifted her eyes to Aerith's. Her lips parted then snapped shut. No, she couldn't tell her. It would ruin everything. But god did she want to. Again that nagging voice in the back of her head mocked her and she ground her teeth.
We're taking shortcuts and false solutions
"I can't, I'm sorry."
Aerith was quiet for a while and the silence was tearing Tifa in two. Just as Tifa thought she was going to rip her own hair out Aerith tugged on their conjoined hands.
"Alright let's get you cleaned up, hm?"
Wine dark eyes blinked in confusion as she was tugged from her chair to the sink behind the bar. Aerith turned both knobs and let the water run as she took a towel from one of the shelves. All the while Tifa stood, dumbfounded. Only when she felt warm water and the sting of her hand did she come back from her stupor, wincing when Aerith applied pressure to the open cut.
"I'm sorry, but you have glass pieces stuck in there. I'm almost done."
Tifa nodded silently, willing her hand still.
Just to come out the hero
Her hand now cleaned of blood Aerith sat Tifa down on a barstool and again took her hand. With a reassuring smile she took the materia from her bangle and held it over Tifa's palm.
The globe shone a bright green as Aerith quietly worked her magic into the orb. Small, translucent waves of green wrapped themselves around the fighter's hand and licked at the wound. Tifa shivered, the hair on her arms standing on end. No matter how many times Aerith healed her, the reaction was always the same; her heart beat a little quicker, chills ran down her spine, and a faint blush coloured her cheeks.
Well I can see behind the curtain
Though Aerith's eyes were closed in meditation she felt the change in Tifa. Her skin felt warmer and tense. She brushed her thumb over and over the back of Tifa's hand in lazy circles hoping to calm her nerves. Aerith knew what was wrong, she wasn't blind. She was just waiting for Tifa to say something. And it was killing her.
The wheels are cranking turning, it's all wrong the way we're working
Tifa grimaced as the final waves of the spell pulled the wound together, the feeling quite similar to a doctor threading stitches. Setting the dulled orb back into place Aerith opened her eyes.
"How does it feel?"
So many words came to Tifa's mind that she wanted to blurt out; warm, amazing, wonderful, soft, loving. Instead she opted for a slight shrug and grin.
"Like I sliced my hand open with a broken glass."
Aerith pouted and gently whacked Tifa on her arm, causing the fighter to laugh.
"Oh? Then next time you hurt yourself you can ask Cloud to patch you up!"
It was meant as a light-hearted joke (Cloud being terrible at healing) but Aerith saw and felt the sudden tension in Tifa. Never letting go of her hand Aerith took a daring step forward and tucked a stray piece of dark silk behind the fighter's ear. Tifa froze looking very much like a deer in headlights.
"Why do you hate him so much?"
Tifa looked like she had been slapped. She blinked several times and forced her mouth to work.
"I, I don't hate him. I just…he…"
"Tell me, please?" Aerith's fingers trailed as light as a feather to cup Tifa's cheek, prompting her to continue, that it was ok and she was here for her.
Towards a goal that's non-existent, it's not existent…
Swallowing the lump in her throat Tifa continued.
"I…envy him. He has everything and the bastard can't stop brooding for five minutes to see it! He has…he…"
"He has you. He has you and I hate him for it. I hate him because he has what I want, and I don't care how selfish it makes me sound. That's why…that's why I get so angry. He doesn't understand what he has, and here I am smashing glasses against the bar because I'm fighting for that very same thing."
Tears were slowly dripping from Tifa's eyes as she went on and Aerith was quick to catch them with the pads of her thumbs. Tifa gave a start, glistening red locking onto cool emerald.
"He doesn't have me, Tifa. He can't."
Aerith smiled and, still cupping Tifa's burning cheeks, gently kissed her.
Tifa inhaled sharply, the scent of fresh grass and dirt invading her senses and she shivered despite herself. The moment it happened it was over, Tifa instantly missing the warmth from the other's lips.
"You had me from the start Teef. I think it was the blue dress that got me to be honest." She giggled with a wink.
Tifa covered Aerith's hand with her own and leaned into the touch. She closed her eyes with a smile.
"Aerith…" She breathed.
"I love you, Tifa Lockhart."
But we just keep believing