Disclaimer: Square Enix owns them; I always return them in fairly good condition.

A/N: Set after the events of Advent Children but before Dirge of Cerberus; Captain McAngstyPants rides again and Tifa looks for patience. Written for LiveJournal's Springkink comm and the March 15, 2010 prompt of 'Possessive and demanding – "Say my name."

Bouquets to my betas: Empatheia, FuschiaFinn and Ranuel.

Rating: NC-17

Warning: slight non-con, lemon

Assertion

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"Say it," he demanded, his teeth grazing her collarbone.

"What is with you?" Tifa demanded, trying to both wriggle loose and ignore the shivers Cloud was causing... neither very effectively. He didn't answer, instead delivering a non-verbal rebuke hard enough to make her flinch. Doing her best to disregard her lover's ungentle handling, Tifa glared up at the ceiling and again attempted to figure out what had brought on his inexplicable bout of aggression... because otherwise there was going to be a Cloud-shaped dent in their bedroom wall as soon as she had a free hand.

She'd barely closed the door, yawning and scrubbing her fingers through her hair, when he'd practically tackled her into the panel. He's lucky he didn't get a knee in the crotch. Instinctively fending him off had only earned her an expletive and his teeth in her shoulder; she was so taken aback by both that Cloud was able to strip off most of her clothes and grapple her onto the bed without significant resistance. Once he had her trapped beneath him, the rough fabric of his trousers scratching her bare legs, he proceeded to leave reddened marks that could only be very loosely described as 'love bites' all over her throat and chest. Tifa recovered from her shock and fought back, but quickly realized that something was very wrong, because he didn't back off. Where is this possessive crap coming from?

If Cloud pulled an alpha-male moment, there was always a good natured tone to his masculine posturing, a wry grin lurking at the corners of his mouth because they both knew who was really in control and could stop him with only a word. He always makes sure it's very worth my while to play along, but he's never been this rough! She tried to twist free and nearly succeeded; he responded by resting more of his weight on her as what sounded rather like a growl vibrated through her ribcage. Tifa first scowled at the top of Cloud's head, then bit her lip. What on earth could've set him off?

"Say my name."

Angry enough to spit something considerably pithier than his name, but also extremely puzzled, Tifa remained silent to see what he'd do; Cloud glanced up through his bangs. The eye contact only lasted a split-second before he went back to creating reddened marks on her body, but it was enough for her to catch an unnerving glimpse of his inner conflict. He's... desperate? Stunned, Tifa mentally flailed for a few moments until she hit on an incident earlier that evening, one that occurred just as Cloud walked into the bar, fresh from an overnight delivery. Is that what's making him act like this? Oh, for the love of Shiva!

She would've smacked herself in the forehead if she was able, and then cuffed him upside the head for being an idiot, but Cloud's large hands firmly pinned her wrists against the mattress as his teeth again marred her pale skin. "Ow! Would you stop that?" she protested distractedly as she parsed her memory for details.

A well-dressed, well-educated, well-spoken businessman - the classy kind of customer that the 7th Heaven liked to encourage - had spent a fair chunk of his expense account on some of her best liquor. Unlike other first-timers, he hadn't gotten drunk, hadn't made a pass at her, hadn't picked any fights and had paid up without a fuss. He'd given her his business card, said he'd recommend the 7th Heaven to his colleagues in Rocket City and shook her hand like a gentleman... and that was that, so far as she'd been concerned.

Cloud obviously begged to differ, judging by his reaction both then and now. He'd given the man a vitriolic look and stormed back out, almost slamming the door off its hinges... and without even acknowledging her warm 'welcome home' although he'd been away for two days.

After everything we've been through together... after all this time... argh. Tifa sighed deeply and reluctantly relaxed, stretching slowly beneath him so that he wouldn't think she was continuing to resist. As she apparently submitted, Cloud also gentled his grip and his attentions, the sharp bites and nips giving way to lingering licks and nibbling kisses. He's never been any good at talking about stuff, so why am I not surprised that he reacted this way? She was debating between slapping some sense into him or kissing him senseless, until Cloud unintentionally gave her the opening she needed.

Shifting upwards so that they were face-to-face, he gazed at her with eyes gone deep blue and smouldering. "Say my name," he commanded tightly, his body rigid with tension.

Struck speechless by the intensity of his need, Tifa finally managed a crooked smile. "Cloud..." she whispered, trying to pack as much understanding and love as possible into that single word. He didn't give her a chance to elaborate, though; he kissed her so fiercely that she could barely breathe, releasing her wrists to tangle handfuls of silky black hair. As soon as her arms were free, Tifa hugged him with all of her strength while kissing him back with every fibre of her being.

Cloud was panting and smoky-eyed when they broke apart, his mouth soft; Tifa spared a passing thought for how vulnerable he looked as she cupped his face between her palms. "You're the only one I'll ever want," she murmured, hoping he would accept her sincerity. His arousal haze cleared like morning mist swept from a summer sky; she had no warning before he rolled off her and hid his eyes behind the back of his hand.

Reflexes honed by years of battle, Tifa nimbly followed his movement and straddled his narrow hips, holding firmly onto his biceps in case he tried to escape. We have to settle this now. Waiting for his hand to move, she watched his Adam's apple bob as he swallowed and followed the line of his throat down to the sculpted planes of his bare chest. When he stubbornly continued shutting her out, she bent down and pressed a kiss to his calloused palm. "I'm right here, Cloud," she breathed. "I'll always be here."

Fingertips curled, brushed her cheek. "Why?" he rasped.

"Because I choose to be," Tifa answered, mouthing the pulse-point in his wrist.

Long fingers snapped into a fist. "When I saw that guy touch you... I-I nearly lost it. I had to leave, or I was gonna rip him apart."

She lightly kissed each white-skinned knuckle. "He's no threat to you." To us.

Cloud huffed what almost might have been a laugh. "He looked a little too much like one of those damn Turks in his slick suit."

That's still rattling around his brain? "I prefer my men to be more casually dressed." He let out a small snort; Tifa noted a slight lessening of tension in his frame."What did you do instead of starting a bar-room brawl?"

"Unloaded the bike, checked on the kids, had something to eat... punched holes in a couple of walls...."

"Worked yourself into a real sweat, in other words." Releasing his arms, she lightly massaged the nape of his neck. The way his shoulders relaxed at the gentle touch gave her an idea.

When she began briskly running her fingers over his scalp, Cloud twitched, then cautiously asked, "What on Gaia are you doing?"

"Checking for head injuries."

"Huh?"

Tifa grinned, slowing her soothing motions until more of the tightness left his body. "You must have fallen off Fenrir and clocked yourself, if you seriously think I'd ever be interested in a guy like that," she declared.

Cloud went still for a long moment before exhaling with the air of a condemned man. "You deserve better than a glorified delivery boy," he mumbled.

And so we reach the crux of the matter. Dipping down to press a tender kiss to the corner of his mouth, she purred, "For your information, I happen to find delivery boys – especially scruffy, thick-skulled, thin-skinned ones - highly attractive."

He moved his hand just enough to peer up at her with one damp-lashed eye as he forced out, "Why, Tifa?"

"Because I...." She blushed a lovely shade of rose, but bravely held his anguished gaze as she spoke the words often gasped in the heat of the moment over the last year, but never so bluntly expressed in the stillness between. "B-because I love you."

As if he needed to see her more clearly, he finally dropped his hand and searched her abashed but sincere expression. Catching hold of her wrists – far more gently than the first time – Cloud carefully stroked his thumbs over the bruises. Regarding her with such a serious mien that Tifa nearly squirmed, he finally muttered, "I don't deserve it."

"Why not?" Old pain and new guilt surfaced; he looked away. Pulling free of his grasp, Tifa poked him in the chest – hard. "I won't break; I can handle anything you dish out, including the apparent need to mark your territory." He flinched, remorse writ large on his expression, and she nearly gave into the impulse to swat some sense into him. "You've nearly died how many times protecting this planet and other peoples' happiness? I'm surprised that there aren't hordes of fangirls hanging around the bar, hoping for a chance to bang the legendary Cloud Strife... then you'd see me rearranging the decor with my fists."

He offered her a small, unexpected smile; encouraged, Tifa stretched out on top of him, granting the comfort of skin against skin. His belt buckle scraped along her belly; as she reached down to push it aside, Cloud tentatively rested his fingertips on her shoulders, as if he were afraid that she'd shrug him off.

"Every time I'm offered a job, I literally count the hours that I'll be away," he admitted, his voice very soft. "If it's too many, I turn it down... and then feel like a loser for not doing my part to support this family. And then I think that you'd be...."

"Better off without you? You must have hit your head." Tifa snuggled under his chin, kissing the divot at the base of his throat as Cloud's arms slid around her. Threading his fingers into her hair, he gently brought her mouth to his, offering an apology by way of a lingering kiss. She eagerly wound herself around him, trying to show him without words just how much she needed him... until she was pricked by his belt buckle in a very tender area and jerked away.

"Tifa...?" His voice had dropped into that lower register that never failed to make her toes curl in anticipation, while his hands roamed over her back and through her hair.

Fumbling with the metal clasp, she breathlessly muttered, "Take this thing off, already."

Cloud quickly obliged, kicking free of his trousers before reaching for her. Tifa held back, openly admiring his lean body, toned from years of handling oversized weapons. A purely masculine smirk curved his lips when her appreciative gaze fastened on his erection. "I hear it's considered 'legendary' by some people," he drawled.

Tifa blinked rapidly several times, then deadpanned, "Unlike your sense of humour."

"Hey!"

She gave a slow, sultry smile, effectively killing his protest. "C'mere." Effortlessly turning the tables, Tifa pushed Cloud onto his back, sensuously moulding her body against his as she thoroughly kissed him. Pulling her closer, he threw back his head and groaned when she trailed heated caresses down the side of his throat and across his chest to his nipples. Gently nibbling on the pebbled flesh, Tifa smiled briefly when Cloud gasped and clutched at her. Distracting him with more sweet torment, she subtly positioned herself, then took him in one long, slow slide.

He bucked hard, seating himself even more deeply while the erotic friction created by their joining set off small tremors throughout her body. Pushing herself up onto her hands, Tifa watched him through her lashes as she rocked against him, giving herself over to the sensations building inside her. Cloud jammed a pillow under his head and cupped her breasts, tonguing one sensitized nipple and thumbing the other, switching back and forth while she rode him more and more frantically until her body clenched and rippled around him.

As Tifa collapsed on his chest, trying to catch her breath from the aftershocks of her orgasm, Cloud planted his feet into the mattress and firmly gripped her hips. He thrust rapidly upwards until he yanked her hard against him and let out a strangled shout that sounded very much like her name. Shuddering from the strength of his release, he held her tightly as if afraid he'd lose her, and while their hearts slowed, he pressed affectionate kisses to her forehead.

She stirred, raised her head to smile drowsily and trace the curve of his lower lip with her finger. He playfully nipped at the slender digit, and was rewarded with a lopsided grin that became a mischievous smirk. Sliding up Cloud's sweat-gleamed body until she could reach his ear, Tifa lightly tugged on the lobe with her teeth before whispering, "You can scream my name anytime."

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