Disclaimer: I do not own the characters of FFVII or make profit from this story.

He knew that smell.

The sweet smell wafted out the slightly open window. Unable to resist, he stood in the driveway and drew the aroma deeply into his nose. His eyes closed in ecstasy. A small smile appeared on his face as he exhaled. Opening his eyes, he made haste for the front door.

The smell was even stronger when he opened the door. He took off his shoes in the hallway, a rule he couldn't dismiss even for sweets, and all but ran to the kitchen. There was no one there when he stepped through the doorway, but he saw his desired treats. On a metal rack on the counter sat a few dozen chocolate chip cookies, fresh from the oven. Cloud licked his lips as he stepped up to them. The chocolate was still shiny, so they were very, very fresh. Reaching one hand out to grab one of the morsels, Cloud could taste—


Cloud recoiled his hand in shock. He saw a wooden spoon where his hand had been. Following the length of the spoon, up a defined arm and shoulder, and a slender neck, he saw Tifa's face. Her eyebrow was arched at him, daring him to defy her. Giving his best puppy dog eyes, he pointed at the cookies.

"No," she said sternly. "Those are for Marlene to take to school tomorrow for a class party."

"Just one?" Cloud pleaded.


Shoulders slouched, Cloud dragged himself out of the kitchen and up to the bathroom to shower after his long ride. As he scrubbed himself down, he thought of ways he could get to the cookies without Tifa's notice. Using the kids was out of the question. They had gone to snitching on him, the traitors. He could always wait until Tifa left the house to go work at the bar. No, tonight was one of her night's off. Then how?

And then the light bulb went on. He smiled widely to himself as he finished rinsing himself off. Humming a little tune, he dried off and went to his room to put on new clothes.


Later that evening, the kids were in their room doing homework together and Tifa was in the kitchen washing the dishes. Cloud sauntered down the stairs, more swagger to his step than usual. He leaned on the doorframe of the kitchen. After waiting a few moments with Tifa not noticing him, he cleared his throat. Tifa's glance turned into a double take. Her hands paused in their action of scrubbing a pan as she stared at him. Her eyes wandered away from his face to take in his white, button-up shirt(that was left unbuttoned) and black slacks. Tifa's eyes snapped back up to his face in confusion. Cloud sauntered forward and she backed away from him, hands dripping with warm water and bubbles. Her back hit the counter behind her and Cloud trapped her by placing his hands on either side of her. He leaned in close to her face, his bare chest almost touching hers. He could see the blush form on her cheeks and heard her breathing catch. His lips were almost touching hers…almost…

Cloud pulled away instantly and stuffed a chocolate chip cookie in his mouth. He did a rather good impression of a chipmunk before he booked it out of the kitchen as fast as he could. It took a moment or two, but it was not long at all before he heard, "Cloud Strife! Get back here right now!" He didn't even look back as he ran out the front door and hopped on Fenrir. He was down the street before Tifa was out the front door. In the rearview mirror, he could see her waving her fist at him, no doubt also cursing his name.

Cloud swallowed the cookie he had been harboring in his mouth. He smiled at his achievement. Of course, he knew there would be reprimands for stealing one of those tasty morsels.

But it was well worth the punishment.