Title: Be My Escape
Author: Traxits
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII.
Pairing: Tifa Lockhart/Elena.
Rating: T.
Content Notes: Kissing, pre-romance.
Word Count: 1526 words.
Request: Final Fantasy VII, Tifa/Elena: breakup – "You don't need him..."
Summary: Tifa finally throws in the towel when it comes to her relationship with Cloud. On the spur of the moment, she steps into a bar for a few drinks, and ends up in the middle of something she never would have imagined herself in.
Author's Note(s): What's with me and naming my prompt fics after songs or phrases that I find in songs? I don't know; can't seem to stop myself either! Anyway, written for the "Are You Game?" community on Dreamwidth.

[[ … One-Shot … ]]

Tifa wasn't entirely certain what had possessed her. She managed a strained smile to the bartender, feeling awkward being on this side of the bar. Her fingers were itching to handle the bottles, to feel their curves, to laugh at the patrons and listen to all their latest news. Instead, she was nursing her third beer, feeling decidedly sorry for herself. And the most pathetic thing about it all was the simple fact that she couldn't go home. Not when every inch of that place reminded her of him.

Sighing, she turned up the bottle for another gulp, and she almost choked when someone fell on her. She slid off of the bar stool, spinning around to scowl at the intruder, but she stopped short when she realized that she recognized that mess of blonde hair. The woman was grinning, but blushing darkly as she leaned over the back of the stool.

"Sorry," she giggled, reaching up with one hand to put a finger over her mouth. "I fell over."

Tifa smiled slightly, helping steady the other woman on her feet. She cast a glance around them both, looking for Elena's partners in crime. No one jumped out immediately at her, so she patted the stool lightly. "Sit," she said, her smile widening a touch at Elena's immediate, vigorous nod.

"Sounds good," she said happily, projecting her voice just enough to be heard over the music. She sank onto the bar stool, looking expectantly over at Tifa. "Sit with me? I lost the others earlier."

Her good mood was surprisingly infectious, and Tifa soon found herself ordering another beer, sliding it over to her newly-found friend. Elena cheerfully took it, chattering idly about something; Tifa wasn't really listening. Instead, she was studying the blonde, surprised at how good Elena looked. Mentally, she chided herself for being so shallow. So, Elena had worked for Shinra. To be perfectly fair, very few in Midgar hadn't.

But now, sitting her with her, watching her laugh over some play she'd seen, it was hard to believe that she'd once viewed her as an enemy. It was hard to believe that this petite young woman, with her white t-shirt and snug jeans and black boots, was a Turk. Tifa smiled a little, well aware that it was the same train of thought most had about her being in a rebel faction.

"Right?"

"What?" Belatedly, Tifa jerked back to the present, her eyebrows furrowing at Elena's expectant expression. "I'm sorry. Just... gathering my wool, I guess." She laughed, although the sound was a little stilted, even to her ears. "Been a long day."

"Mmhm." Elena leaned forward a bit, until she was too close for Tifa's comfort. Instinctively, Tifa drew back, lifting her beer to cover the motion. Elena's eyes narrowed a little, even through her tipsy haze. "What's wrong?"

Tifa bit her tongue, trying to figure out how much was appropriate. Had this been Aerith, she probably would have broken down and told her everything, even if it did amount to her giving the other woman free reign to Cloud's heart. Not that it would have mattered; Cloud's heart had already been taken. Of course, had she been talking to Aerith, they wouldn't have been in a bar, and she'd probably have a cup of hot tea in her hands instead of a cold beer. But this wasn't Aerith. This was Elena, a woman just as deadly as Tifa herself, and furthermore, an enemy-

That wasn't right though. Not any longer. Shinra was gone, even if Rufus was still alive. He'd never hold power again, and if Elena wanted to fill whatever obligation she had, it was her right. Clearly, there was more to Rufus than what Tifa or any of AVALANCHE had seen, if he managed to inspire such loyalty from his Turks and even Reeve.

"Tifa?"

"Sorry." Tifa flushed, sipping again from her bottle. "Just..."

"Trying to figure out what's appropriate?" Elena nodded, a knowing smile on her face. "I get that. But look, it's not like you have anyone else to talk to about this." She arched an eyebrow, and for once, Tifa could see the potential that the blonde hid; the cleverness that she kept hidden under her chatter. Tifa could see what made Elena a Turk.

"Well, no." Yuffie was the closest thing Tifa had to a close female friend, and even that... Yuffie was young. Little more than a child. Tifa's smile turned wistful as she rolled the bottle between her hands. "But that doesn't mean that I drink a few beers and spill to the first girl to offer me a shoulder."

Elena leaned over, propping her chin up on Tifa's shoulder. Strangely, the motion was comforting instead uncomfortably intimate, as Tifa would have expected. For just a moment, Tifa stayed still, then she reached up and patted the blonde's hair. "It's not really anything big." A giggle, and Tifa shivered at the feeling of Elena being so close. She felt warmer than usual; the beers probably.

"That's what I always say."

It took just a minute for that to sink in, and then Tifa blushed and laughed too, deciding to hell with it and turning up her bottle. Then Elena pulled back and said softly, "You deserve better than him anyway."

Tifa looked sharply over at her, but she was already happily finishing off her own beer, smiling and waving to the bartender to fetch her another. He brought two, and Tifa was too shocked to wave it away.

"What?"

Elena raised her eyebrows as she sipped her new beer. "Not that hard to guess, Tifa." A small smile played over the blonde's face before she added, "I mean, out of all the things that you would like a woman to talk to over, a break-up is the most common, right?"

The brunette fell back on her bar stool a little, toying with the bottle in front of her. "I suppose," she admitted slowly. She glanced up at Elena, and when the blonde motioned for her to lean over, she found herself doing it without thinking about it; without questioning her motives. Elena reached up and touched the side of her face, and then she placed the softest kiss that Tifa had ever received to her lips.

Tifa's eyes flew open at the feel of it, but as Elena's hand worked its way back into her long hair, she found herself relaxing into it. By the time that Elena drew back, Tifa made a low noise, suddenly grateful for the loud music. Elena looked entirely too satisfied with herself, and Tifa felt a blush lighting her face.

"My chaperones have arrived," Elena murmured with a little grin. "But if you like, we can meet up later. Maybe with less alcohol."

Tifa nodded slowly, and she fished out her cellphone. Elena took it and was programming in her number when Reno sidled up next to them, taking Elena's beer easily.

"Laney, you have to stop ditching-"

Tifa blushed darkly, knowing full well why he stopped short. She sipped from her bottle and took her phone when Elena held it out to her. "Reno," she finally said courteously, nodding her head toward him. His eyes narrowed as he looked between her and Elena, and then he grinned.

"Been taking care of her for us, yo? Mighty nice of you, Tifa." He stuck out his hand, and Tifa hesitated only momentarily before shaking it. "She might as well be our little sister. Don't like her disappearing like that." He shot a mock-serious look to Elena, who just giggled at him. Tifa had to admit, with his wild red hair and baggy clothes, he didn't cut the most authoritative figure.

"He's just jealous," Elena whispered loudly. "Scared I'll pick up more chicks." She winked, and Tifa laughed at their by-play. Reno shook his head and waved a little before he headed back toward the door with a pointed look in Elena's direction. The blonde sighed, but the smile on her face was affectionate. She cast Tifa one more look, leaning over to kiss her cheek lightly. "You don't need him," she whispered. "Call me."