Hey my fabulous readers!
I know, you guys have been waiting forever for this fic, for any update whatsoever, and I'm so sorry to have kept you waiting for as long as I did. I meant to put it up a long time ago, but life got so crazy for me, then I started some other fics and this one kind of slipped in the back of my mind.
Now, it shouldn't take me long to update it, honest, because I've started planning this out and everything-something I need to do a lot more for my fics.
So, hopefully you guys will like this sequel as much as you liked the original A Form of Death. I can guarantee it'll be longer.
And yes, this does mean Condition and Purple Skies are still on hiatus. I'm seriously trying to figure out what exactly I want to do with them before I end up doing something I regret.
"When was the last time it was this quiet around here?"
Tifa's question made him chuckle, before tightening his hold around her waist. It was a very legitimate question, which was the sad thing. Rarely could they get the kids to go to bed this early, with little delay, and have the quiet last for as long as it had been. About three hours before did Cloud and Tifa tuck Marlene and Denzel in bed, before hitting the sack themselves. The reason why they weren't asleep yet, though, was because they were just as excited about the trip they were taking tomorrow as they knew the younger ones to be.
"It took a minute to get them to go to sleep though."
"Yes, but not as long as usual." She sat up, running a hand through her dark brown tresses before resting that hand on his chest. "Cloud, had I not told them that the sooner they go to bed, the sooner we'll leave, then they would still be up right now!" He only nodded to her in response, and Tifa took this moment to look at him. In the last few months, Cloud seemed to relax a lot more around her. Before, he was usually so tense, never really wanting to be too close because he was always afraid that something he did would get her killed. Not saying he still doesn't think that now. But before, Tifa knew that Cloud feared her dying or something terrible without her knowing how he truly felt about her. She still remembered that horrible night, her first encounter with the vampire.
"I don't want . . . to . . . die. I want . . . to stay with . . . with you."
Tifa was well aware that when she uttered those words to him, it broke his heart. He thought he might be losing the one person besides his mother who genuinely has always cared for him. The one person who he considered family now before anyone else. But, by some shear miracle or what-have-you, Tifa survived, and quite literally lived to fight another day. Of course, she had no intention whatsoever of leaving him at all, especially since she herself had not told him about her feelings either.
"What are you thinking about?"
Cloud's question broke her thoughts and cast her out of the past to send her back into the present. She smiled, shaking her head and laying back down, curling her body into his own. "Nothing really," she murmured into his skin, kissing his shoulder as he tangled his fingers in her hair. Her mind snapped from the present to the future, to tomorrow when they would be leaving this house for a few weeks to take a world tour, as the kids liked to call it. Tifa smiled. "Thank you so much Cloud for this trip." She sat up again, restless, staring down into his eyes. "But . . . but are you sure we have enough money for it?"
Cloud raised a brow, sitting up as well, the covers whispering as they fell from his body. He tilted his head slightly to one side, before cradling her face in both of his hands and kissing her forehead as gently as he could. Resting his on hers, he said softly, "Yes. I'm pretty sure we're covered, okay?" Tifa's hands reached up to wrap around his and she nodded minutely. Cloud lifted his chin to catch her lips with his own in a firm, but delicate, kiss, and she returned it all the same. Her hands snaked along his arms, before wrapping around his neck, and Cloud knew it was probably a bad idea to insinuate anything like what he was thinking; the kids were right down the hallway. But it had been a while since he got a chance, and a man had to eat right? Now, he never thought of Tifa as an object-that was just wrong-but she was definitely something delectable to satisfy his hunger.
Laying her down, he let one hand slide down the length of her body to rest on her hip, while her hands drifted from his neck to his chest. She wasn't pushing him off, but feeling his skin underneath her fingers. Cloud deepened the kiss for only a brief moment before there were two small knocks on the door. Gently, Tifa turned her head, pulling away from Cloud who nestled his face into her neck. She giggled, before calling, "Yes?"
"We can't sleep!" the first voice said, a boy.
"Can we come in there with you?" asked the second, a girl.
Cloud lifted his head, looking to his right, at the door. "Give us a minute okay? We'll be right there." Tifa opened her mouth to say something, but Cloud stole her breath in another soft kiss. She sighed when he stopped and laid his lips to her forehead, before climbing over her and approaching the door. Tifa propped herself up on her elbow, watching Cloud as he opened the entrance to their room.
Two small figures were waiting there, each holding a pillow of their own. The bottom half of Marlene's face was covered with hers, and she let out a small yawn as she stood there. Cloud smiled, standing out of the way so that they could both make their way inside. Denzel shuffled past Cloud first, listlessly smiling up at his role model before making his way over to the bed. Tifa moved herself over to the other side, allowing Denzel space to climb in. He pushed the covers back a little more, before crawling in and placing his pillow next to the one Tifa had her elbow on. He yawned, leaning over and against Tifa, who hugged him and kissed the top of his head. Marlene stayed in the hall for a moment, not even noticing that Denzel had already made his way into the room. She blinked, then rubbed her eyes lethargically, and Cloud bent down to pick her up; he figured she wasn't going to move on her own any time soon. He and Tifa both knew it; no matter how excited the kids got, they couldn't ward off the sleep that wanted to take control of their bodies. Denzel's eyes were already closed, his breathing settling when Cloud laid Marlene down in the bed next to the slightly older boy. Getting in next to her, he grabbed the covers and pulled them up, Tifa helping him cover their entire family, before she shifted herself and Denzel into a more comfortable sleeping position. Marlene turned over, snuggling into Cloud's arms and finally succumbing to slumber.
Cloud looked over at Tifa, who had her arm around Denzel's waist, laying another soft kiss on his cheek before lying down herself. She smiled to Cloud before whispering to him a good night, and drifting off to sleep. Cloud reached over and touched her cheek with the back of his fingers, before finally resting himself.
The next morning was a frenzy of activity, completely opposite of the night before. The four members of the house were scurrying around, trying to make sure they had everything they were going to need for the next possible month or so. A month on vacation-to most people it sounded a bit long, but Cloud and Tifa both thought it was well deserved for their entire family. After what they'd gone through in the past four or five years, this was a bit late, but that was better than never taking a break at all.
"Where's my shirt?"
"Is the other suitcase in there?"
"Do we have enough clothes?"
"I need more bows!"
Question after question filled the air as the house bustled with activity in preparation for the next few weeks. Eventually things calmed down after most of their belongings had been sorted through and most things were settled. Cloud and Tifa were in their room, packing what was left to pack, several suitcases covering the bed and one more on the floor. She was folding clothes and placing them neatly in the suitcases, while he was going through them to make sure everything they needed was there. Toothbrushes, toothpaste, soaps, books, underwear . . . He got to that last item and chuckled under his breath. Cloud purposefully did not look in Tifa's bag to see what kind of underwear she was bringing along. He figured he wanted to be surprised. Even though this was going to be a family vacation, some of his and her activities might not be too family oriented. She looked up, catching the gleam in his eye, and giggled, knowing somehow exactly what he was thinking about.
Marlene and Denzel rushed into the room then, huffing and puffing. Cloud raised a brow, Tifa folding one more shirt before turning her attention to the children. Denzel held up a finger, bending over, hands on his knees, while Marlene leaned against the door frame. It took another few seconds, before they both said, "Reeve is here!"
Tifa looked at Cloud, a brow raised in question. He walked past her, gripping her hand gently for a brief moment as he passed her and the kids. Tifa listened for a moment to his heavy footsteps as he made his way down the hall, before she heard him descending the stairs. Her brow furrowed as she thought, What could he possibly have called Reeve for? She didn't know, she had absolutely no idea Reeve was even coming here! Especially today. Maybe randomly on any other day to see if Cloud's heard anything about someone Reeve may be working on. She gulped. I really hope he isn't proposing Cloud do a job for him today! I know Cloud wouldn't take it-he's his own boss-but still. Tifa sighed, leaving the room with Marlene and Denzel only a few moments after Cloud had. What in the world could be going on now?
Marlene and Denzel flanked the rear as the three of them went down the same path Cloud had not even a minute before. She could feel their excitement emanating off of their bodies like heat in a cold night, but she was more nervous than ever. Was he being asked to go out on an assignment, the day they were supposed to leave for their world-wide vacation? Am I overreacting or what? She didn't want to think that she was, but she didn't want this vacation to be cancelled or postponed either. Nor do I want him working throughout it. Then there would be little point in taking a vacation at all.
The three of them finally reached the bottom of the stairs to see Cloud shaking hands with Reeve. Tifa's brow furrowed, now in confusion. What is going on? Turning slightly, she could make out a smile on each of the kids' faces. Okay, so they know what's happening... Why am I being kept out of the loop? One fist resting on her hip, she watched as the kids raced from around her and made their way to Reeve, hugging him and thanking him for the ride. Ride? What? What ride?
Cloud's attention shifted from Reeve, to the kids, and then to Tifa, who he seemingly just noticed standing there at the foot of the stairs. Walking over to her, he took her hand and began to lead her outside. Before she had a chance to protest, he shook his head and kept toting her towards the door. He knew she wanted to know, wanted to know so badly what was going on, and he could almost feel her worry. I wish she would calm down. Does she really think I would take a job on the day I'm supposed to start my break? He shook his head, chuckling to himself. It wasn't like he kept this from just her. The kids knew about the ride only because they answered the door first. He didn't even hear anyone knock, surprisingly. Am I slipping? That thought unsettled him for a little while until he realized just how trivial it was. He couldn't be; not with all the years of experience and training his ears have had. Along with other things. Cloud Strife, slipping? That was just unheard of. Maybe he was a bit preoccupied. Yeah, we'll go with that.
As they made their way down the alley the bar, and their home, was located in, Tifa walked a little faster to be on Cloud's side than behind him. He looked at her from the corner of his eye, catching the look she was giving him. That I deserve an explanation right now! look. He smiled a bit wider, and they reached the end of the alley, and the large round-about that was located in the center of Edge.
Parked on the curb in front of the family and their friend was a vehicle. It wasn't just any vehicle, but one of those armored trucks Tifa remembered riding in, on her way with Barret and Cloud to what they now refer to as the Battle of Midgar again the Tsviets and their army. She blinked, staring at it for a moment, not exactly sure why it was there. Is something wrong? No, there couldn't be; Cloud looked too happy for something to be wrong. She faced him, her gaze shifting from his face to the truck in question. Reeve was the first to answer.
"Cloud called in a favor. Told me you all were going out on a trip, and he wanted to make sure you were protected."
A light smile came to her lips then. Wow. Even when we're supposed to be relaxing, Cloud is still on full alert. Tilting her head slightly, she asked the blonde, "I'm going to assume there's no coincidence that this thing can also carry your bike?" He shook his head, telling her there was none at all, which earned him a laugh from her.
Marlene and Denzel, as excited as they were, raced back down the alley without saying a word. Reeve watched after them, before handing Cloud the keys to the vehicle. "I'm trusting this in your capable hands Cloud. You have a gift for taking care of cars."
"Better than he takes care of himself," Tifa mumbled under her breath. Cloud, unlike Reeve, heard the comment and squeezed her hand a little tighter than before. She only smiled.
Reeve took out his phone, his fingers working a few buttons before shutting it again. A few moments later, a car pulled up in front of the parked truck. Tifa waved good bye to him, while telling him thank you. He nodded to the both of them before climbing into the back of the black car, his face now hidden behind tinted windows. The car pulled out into the round-about, before making a right and disappearing behind a building.
Before Cloud and Tifa could turn around and walk back down the alley, Marlene and Denzel were already back with their things. "We're ready to go!"
The adults thought to themselves that they were as well.
Yaay! First chapter is finished!
So, I hope to have this entire fic finished before school starts again in August, even though I know that in reality it probably won't because I'll get caught up in a lot of other things.
But, there is one more thing that I would like to say, and it is thank you to all of my faithful readers who have stuck with me and waited all this time for something to come up. I also want to thank the new guys, for giving me a chance. I know I owe a lot to you guys, and I promise I will try my hardest to make this my best fic yet. Thanks so much!