A/N: Happy New Year's guys! This fanfic was originally going to be written for a Christmas party, but I decided to make it time accurate and post it on New Year's Eve since, well, that's when it takes place. This was pretty much written all at once, and sine I'm in a rush to get it up, there may be a few mistakes...
If you like this story, check out some of my other oneshots and full length stories.
Disclaimer: If I owned any of this, I...well, I don't know what I'd do. But I don't own anything about this, so it doesn't matter.
New Year's Blues
These were the words that escaped Tifa Lockhart's lips. Though she meant the words with all her heart, she was thankful nobody had heard her. No, they were all too busy minding their own business, not paying attention to the distressed bar maiden.
It was New Year's Eve, and here she was as always, serving beverages and cleaning up the messes of others. One thing that was different, however, was who she was serving. These were all her friends and acquaintances, here to party and end the year on a good note. And by the looks of it, they were accomplishing their goals. They were screaming and hollering so loud Tifa was surprised the police hadn't arrived yet. It also helped that most of the men were extremely drunk.
Somehow, despite the commotion, Tifa heard the side door open. She stopped fussing over the dirty glasses and turned her head in that direction. Oh, Cloud's home. She turned her attention back to the dirty cups and kept working.
"Yo, Tifa, another two!" Tseng shouted, stumbling over to her. Not wanting to anger a drunken man, she quickly obeyed. He walked off without a thank you, nearly spilling the drinks because of his own clumsiness. Tifa steamed. A "thanks" would have been nice!
Okay, so maybe she was used to being underappreciated. It just wasn't helping her feel any better, especially since she was stressed out about a lot of other stuff. A lot of things in general weren't going right, but one thing was especially fresh in her mind. It had been Christmas only a few days ago, and she had spent it all by herself. Barret had taken Marlene and Denzel with him for a trip to Costa del Sol. And, naturally, Cloud wasn't around. He had been gone for nearly a week and half on a trip, and he was only returning now.
Though Tifa wouldn't admit to anyone she had romantic feelings for Cloud, she knew everyone saw this as unstated truth. She was so bad at hiding her feelings.
But anyway, she had spent Christmas all by herself. And while she tried to be thankful for all the blessings she had, she ended up crying herself to sleep that night.
Oh how she wished this sorrow would just leave her alone! She just couldn't shake off the feelings she had in her heart. Even if Cloud was back now, it didn't matter. Things were hardly different when he was home anyway. But her heart ached all the same.
Tifa finished cleaning out four of the glasses and turned around to put them in the cabinet, standing on her toes to reach the top shelf. Laughter erupted from the other side of the room, startling her so much that she nearly dropped all her mugs. But she took in a deep breath and completed the job despite the interruption.
She faintly heard Cid telling a insulting joke, making her wince slightly. She was so thankful that Marlene, Denzel and Shera (who wasn't into the drinking craze), were watching television in the back. And Tifa had given the kids strict orders to stay back there in case anything like this happened.
Muttering to herself, she returned to work, filling up a ton of glasses so she could take a break and get a breath of fresh air. The atmosphere may have felt like to everyone else, but it wasn't to her. Heck, even those that weren't drunk were having fun. Yuffie was teasing Vincent about something, and he was trying to tune her out by watching the drunken Turks. But he couldn't hide the smile on his face. Nanaki was missing at that moment, but then Tifa remembered he had gone back with the kids. And Cloud, he was just standing there in the company of all the intoxicated. He didn't take any drinks for himself.
Sighing, Tifa finished her work. Eight bottles of beer sat on the counter, ready to be consumed at any moment. Tifa figured that would give her a ten minute break from everything. If she was lucky.
The bar maiden stepped out from behind the bar and shut the hatch behind her, not wanting anyone touching her private stash by mistake.
"Hey there, beautiful," a voice purred, making Tifa tense up. She turned around to see Reno grinning widely, staring at her with lust in his eyes. He reeked of alcohol so badly that Tifa could hardly stand to be within two feet of him.
"Excuse me," she mumbled, trying to sidestep him. He drunkenly moved with her, getting in her way. Glaring up at him, she spoke again. "Do you mind?"
"What's wrong baby?" he asked soothingly. Tifa growled softly in disgust. "It's New Year's Eve, cheer up!"
"How I spend my evening is no business of yours," Tifa stated, nearly lashing out at him.
"No, maybe not," Reno said smoothly. That hideous grin was still on his face. "But I'd like to make it better for ya. Why don't chya let me give you a taste of the big man?" he asked, pointing at himself smugly.
"Look above yer head," he started. "It's mistletoe." Sure enough, much to Tifa's dismay, there was mistletoe hanging above them. But Tifa, untamable and determined, wouldn't allow herself to be controlled by a mere holiday symbol.
"Reno, get out of my way," she hissed angrily. "I will never kiss you. Or give you anything you want. And if you can't take the verbal warning, I'll give you something else to make you see reality."
"Whoa whoa!" Reno laughed. "No need for that. I'll take the first and just leave ya alone. Just holler if ya change yer mind."
Tifa became slightly less tense and shook her head slightly, frustrated. Reno was hard to turn down when he was sober; he was even harder when he was drunk. Oh well, at least she had averted physical fighting with him. Now that would have been a bad way to spend her New Year's Eve. She sidestepped him and started to walk away.
A strong hand gripped her arm and pulled her back under the mistletoe. "Just kidding," he whispered. He kissed her full on the lips, passion in his drunken moment of glory. Everything around them went silent.
Tifa's eyes widened as she quickly brought up her hands and pushed him away. The Turk fell to the ground, his arm knocking over three of the bottles on the counter. The shattering glass sounded like bombs going off in the now-silent room. Tifa glared at him for a moment, in total shock of what just happened. And then the anger and frustration started to rise up in her throat again.
She turned around and scanned the area, seeing every person in that room staring at her. Everyone from the other room and rushed in too and were standing among the drunken men. Her brown eyes caught onto Cloud's crystal blues for a brief moment before tears started to blur her vision. Before anyone could comment, she ran to and up the stairs, leaving them all in awe.
Tears flowing down her face now, Tifa ran into her bedroom and slammed the door behind her. She practically fell onto her bed and sobbed into her pillow. Why didn't anything ever go right?! Why did people always think they could take advantage of her? Why was she so upset over all this? Wasn't she supposed to be invincible?
But Tifa blankly realized that there was no such thing as an invincible person. And even if there was, she couldn't fill those shoes. She resumed her crying.
Not even five minutes later, there was a soft knock on the door. She didn't move to get it, figuring who ever it was would either come on in on their own or leave. They chose the first option and entered the room.
"Tifa," a male voice started, "are you alright?" Tifa wiped at one of her tears and brought her head out of the pillow, seeing Cloud standing in the doorway. She didn't respond, not having any words to say. That, and she didn't have the will to lie. Obviously she wasn't alright.
Cloud's face turned bitter. "I'm gonna kill him," he suddenly growled, gripping the doorway. Tifa suddenly laughed at him, a smile starting to appear on her face. The blond man looked extremely confused. She smile meekly and pat the bed, sitting up so she could be beside him. He silently obeyed and sat down beside her.
Awkward silence hung in the air for a long time.
"So, seriously, I want to go kill him," Cloud stated. Tifa looked up at him and shook her head slightly, a small smile appearing on her lips.
"I appreciate it, but this kind of stuff happens a lot."
"W-what?" Cloud asked, stunned and appalled.
Tifa nodded faintly, bringing up a hand and wiping away the last of her tears. "Not really kissing, but a lot of flirty and disgusting men drink here," she explained with a shrug. "It can't be helped."
Cloud looked frustrated and distraught. "But you shouldn't have to put up with that kind of stuff. They should all be respectful for all that you do."
"It can't be helped," she repeated softly.
Again, silence was thick in the air.
"I miss you," Tifa confessed quietly. Cloud sharply turned to look at her. "I wish you were home more often," she continued. "....I didn't like being alone for the past week. It's too lonely."
"Tifa..." he said, voice pleading. "...I'm sorry."
She nodded quickly. "I know," she said with a sniffle. "It can't be helped."
"I love you," Cloud said abruptly. Tifa turned to look at him, mouth agape. He turned to face her, piercing blue eyes looking right into her soul. "I love you more than life itself. I keep telling myself that no matter how far away we are, my love for you will never change."
Tifa held her breath as Cloud continued.
"But it has," he said, much to her dismay. But then he smiled. "It's gotten stronger." Tifa shared his smile, eyes glowing.
"No matter how far away I go, I'm always going to love you," he promised. "You're always with me wherever I go. I always think I hear you, or see you. In the wind. In the clouds. In the night sky. The shining stars remind me of your eyes." Tifa blushed profusely, awestruck and unnaturally silent. Cloud paused for a moment, seemingly overtaken by shyness. "Do you love me too?" he asked softly, as if afraid of the answer.
Tifa answered without hesitation. "Yes."
Cloud smiled widely, a small sigh of relief escaping his lips. Tifa giggled softly, her smile widening at Cloud's sweetness. This was a side of him she had never seen before. Sure, she had suspected him of being very romantic, but to actually be experiencing it...
He suddenly looked up and around the room, his expression hardening slightly. "What's wrong?" Tifa asked in concern.
A small smile reappeared on his lips. "I was just wondering where a mistletoe is when you need it."
Tifa smiled and looked at the clock behind Cloud's head. 11:59. "You know what you do when the clock strikes twelve on New Year's, don't you, Cloud?" she asked, returning her gaze to Cloud.
A confused look appeared on his face. "No, what?"
The clock chimed twelve.
"This," Tifa said.
She leaned toward him and lightly kissed him on the lips. He was startled and didn't kiss back right away, but he quickly figured out what was going on and kissed her back softly.
Tifa felt as if she were in heaven. Finally. Finally she was with the one whom she loved. And finally she knew that he loved her too. There was no other place she would have rather been. Right there with Cloud, and now in his arms, was perfectly alright with her.
Tifa opened her eyes and pulled away from Cloud at the same time he did. She turned to the door and saw somebody was watching them, a camera in hand. "Yuffie!"
The young girl giggled. "It's about time!" she laughed, smiling widely. "Happy New Year, guys," she said, running off before Cloud or Tifa could steal the camera.
Tifa turned to look at Cloud, a smile on her lips. "Happy New Year," she said quietly.
"Happy New Year," he returned. He leaned forward and gave her a light kiss on the forehead.
Yes, it was a very, very happy new year.