A/N: Aren't these two just perfect together? Sorry for the shortness, though. Somehow, I can't write anything that long about them. Enjoy. ;)
Thanks: M. L. Ayala, my beta reader.
~ So it's one of those days, Tifa thought, sighing wearily. ~
With a start, Tifa realized that it was a quarter to nine already. The clock never lied. Normally, Tifa would have started with preparing dinner for Cloud by now (she, Marlene and Denzel had had dinner already and the children were currently sleeping like babies), but it seemed that he wouldn't come home anytime soon.
So it's one of those days, Tifa thought, sighing wearily and closing her wine-colored eyes for a short while.
She was probably lucky enough to see him before midnight. That is, if she hadn't fallen asleep by that time. However, the sound of a closing front door and slow, soft steps were proof that she was wrong. The raven-haired woman looked up, catching an exhausted-looking Cloud, who just walked into the room. Well, exhausted was maybe an understatement. Worn was a much more fitting word, since he gave the impression that he was about to die right then and there. Even his striking blue eyes were dull and glassy today.
"Hey," Tifa said softly and expectantly, standing up from the comfortable sofa, but Cloud didn't greet her back.
In fact, he didn't even look up at her to acknowledge her.
Tifa frowned at that. It was nothing for Cloud to not bother to greet her back, let alone ignore her completely like that. Something was definitely wrong, then. She could sense it.
It was then that she noticed how the blonde slowly made his way to her. By the way he was almost hobbling like that, he looked like he was the only survivor of a war, almost dying of his wounds. There was something unsettling about him. He really looked spooked, enough to make her think that he had seen a ghost.
Tucking a loose strand of hair behind her ear, she started, hesitantly, "Cloud, are you- Whoa!"
When he reached her, he practically slammed into her without mercy, hard to the touch like a solid rock (she blamed his amazingly toned muscles for that effect). She almost lost her balance, had it not been for Cloud himself, holding her tightly so she wouldn't fall.
As he put his arms around her in a bone-crushing hug, he buried his head where her neck met her shoulder. At once, his spikes tickled her skin near her cheek and Tifa felt something icy cold press into the nape of her neck. She figured that it was either the tip of his nose or his cold lips. Or perhaps both. A shiver ran down her spine, because her own skin was much warmer than his. Well, probably not for long.
After Tifa had recovered from the initial shock of Cloud being so open with his feelings all of a sudden, she slowly returned the embrace, at a loss of words by now. This caused Cloud to tighten his grip on her even more. Tifa just let him be. It was obviously better that way.
What had gotten into him, to react like this, act like he thought he had lost her to something, or someone? The raven-haired woman had no idea what it could be, so the only thing she could do was rub his back with her right hand and stroke his spiky, yet soft to the touch hair with her other hand, hoping it would soothe him one way or another.
They stood like that for a while, the once so solid rock shattered into pieces by god knew what. He didn't seem like he was planning to ever let go of her, too.
When Tifa couldn't take the everlasting silence anymore, she whispered, "Cloud."
However, there was no reaction, so she tried once again, desperate to hear his voice, "Cloud?"
Again, no response whatsoever.
What was wrong with him?
With some effort coming from her side alone, she was finally able to get Cloud to face her. However, Cloud's eyes were closed... and they stayed closed, despite the fact that he probably knew that she was looking at him. He was breathing in a slow, steady rhythm, a neutral expression on his face.
Wait... had he fallen asleep on her shoulder? And that while he was just standing? She didn't know if she should give him props for that, or be very annoyed with him.
Great timing, Cloud. Really...
This day couldn't get any weirder. Honestly, trying to catch some sleep right now wasn't really the smartest idea at the moment. Plus, she wasn't strong enough to drag him all the way to the bedrooms upstairs, without waking him up.
She looked around, as if the answer to her problems was hidden somewhere in this room. That was when she got an idea. Sure, she couldn't lift him up, but maybe he was ready to cooperate, even in his sleep. She had nothing to lose by just trying, right?
Sighing lightly, Tifa shuffled slowly back to the sofa, pulling him with her as gently as she could, by only holding his muscular arms. She discovered soon that it actually worked. Cloud followed after her, step after little step, although he didn't move his head away from where she had put it back on her shoulder again.
As soon as Tifa had reached the sofa, she dropped slowly until she sat down, with a slumped Cloud leaning against her like a lifeless puppet. She would lie if she denied how adorable he looked right now, with his calm, peaceful expression and light, feathery-like eyelashes. And wow, he smelled good. Like soap and the forest and a flowerfield and a spring evening... Tifa took a deep breath to take it all in and never forget this smell.
She also couldn't blame him for falling asleep out of nowhere. As of lately, the man was all work and no play. He never seemed to take a break, like he was some sort of robot. No wonder he was so tired all the time. It was a good thing that he hadn't fallen asleep while driving on Fenrir, that could have been very dangerous.
Tifa figured that he would have extremely stiff and sore muscles when he would finally wake up. Well, good for him. It was his own fault this time, although she couldn't deny that he was by far the best pillow she had ever had; warm, strong, soft and yet firm in exactly the right places. Maybe she should take advantage of this moment, she pondered. After all, how many times would Cloud let her use him as a pillow?
Moving around a little to make herself more comfortable, she put Cloud's free arm around her and closed her eyes with a content sigh. She loved the warmth he was offering her without knowing it and she hoped that he wouldn't wake up for at least twelve more hours.
"G'night, Cloud," she murmured, snuggling against him.
It didn't matter that he didn't respond. That little beginning of a smile said more than enough for her.
When she had almost fallen asleep, she could swear she heard a faint whisper, "I love you..."
That had to be her imagination... right?
A/N: Has this ever happened to you, too? Falling asleep out of nowhere, simply because you're beat? The next Cloti one-shot is on its way, in case you were interested. I would really appreciate it if you could vote on my poll if you'd like to read more about this pairing from me. P