Rhythm


Author's Note: First chapter of the collection. Slightly inspired by the things I hear when I walk by other people's rooms in my building.

Disclaimer: The Final Fantasy series and all of its associated content are property of Square Enix. I am making no profit from this whatsoever.


Thump, thump, thump.

Tifa glanced up at the ceiling, wondering what could possibly have been making such a racket so early in the morning. She had just closed the bar at a quarter past two, and twenty minutes later was helping Cloud wipe down tables and clean shot glasses when the noise had started. Cloud was diligently wiping his rag across tabletops, so far off in his own world that he wasn't hearing the loud, random thumps.

"Cloud!" Tifa whispered loudly. The ex-SOLDIER looked up, blue eyes questioning.

"Yeah?" He replied. Tifa nodded her head up towards the ceiling, where the noise was coming from.

Thump, thump, thump, thump.

"What do you think that is?" She asked. "It's been going on, off and on, for the last twenty minutes."

"…it's coming from Yuffie's side of the floor," Cloud replied, a faint blush rising to his cheeks. "Her and Vincent are up there…"

Tifa's eyes fell to the floor, embarrassed by her lack of foresight. "Oh, you're right. If they're still at it when we go to bed, we'll have to tell them to quiet down."

They went back to their cleaning in silence, though their tranquility was every now and then punctuated with more thumping from the floor above, now coupled with cries of excitement from Yuffie.

"Oh yes! You're doing so good, Vinnie!"

Cloud burst into a fit of silent laughter, doubling over and tossing down his cleaning rag. Tifa stared at the ceiling, absolutely mortified. She turned her eyes to Cloud. "We have to tell them to be quiet. The kids could hear this!"

Cloud raised his hands apologetically and shrugged his shoulders. "Aww, Teef. Sounds like they're just getting into it. Do you really want to ruin the moment?"

"Yes!" Tifa exclaimed, thinking of Marlene and Denzel who were trying to sleep at the other end of the hall. The walls in the house weren't nearly thick enough to keep such raucous noise out. "If they want to do…that, they can go downstairs to Vincent's room."

Their cleaning now complete, Cloud and Tifa walked up the stairs quietly, pausing every now and then to listen to the noises coming from the guest bedroom, which Yuffie had taken over and claimed as her own several months ago. Was that music playing in the background as well?

As they stood outside the door, Tifa nudged Cloud's shoulder. "You knock."

Cloud shook his head fervently. "You're the one who wants them to be quiet, you do it."

Tifa rolled her eyes. Men. She raised a hand to knock on the door, only to have it open completely when her hand touched it. She shielded her eyes instinctively as Cloud stepped to hide himself behind the doorframe. "Yuffie?"

Inside the room, Yuffie sat on her knees on the end of her bed, watching her television with rapt attention. Vincent was standing in the center of the room on a plastic mat of sorts, his heavy metal boots still on. On the television was a swirling, multicolor background that would probably make most adults vomit. On the left side of the screen were little arrows going in each of the four directions. They watched as Vincent tapped his metal boot on the plastic mat in time with the arrows reaching the top of the screen.

Thump, thump, thump, thump.

Tifa blinked quizzically as Cloud cocked his head to the side in confusion. "What's going on? What is this?"

Yuffie looked over at them, surprised. "Oh hey, guys. Did you want to play DDR too? Vinnie's getting really good. He'd be even better if he'd take those stupid boots off. It's all about the rhythm."