The Puppy

The days where long in Edge without Cloud and the kids spent half the day at school so Tifa was left with only her thoughts for company while she went about her daily routine, it was a little easier now Cloud had moved back the night of the healing rain fell which had helped ease Tifa's mind a lot but those fears of being alone still scared her she has actually considering getting a pet to try and help her through these hours of loneliness but even if a pet would soften the blow of being alone for the many hours a day nothing could though help with the sorrow her burden heart held. She was in love with her hero but she believed he could never love her, she had asked him once but he never replied simple he just walked out and had left leaving Tifa hollow and heartbroken. Yuffie had tried on a number of occasions to set her up with guys she knew but Tifa never went and if she was forced she just acted glum even when these guys had been charming and kind they weren't Cloud and that was who held a heart but what could she do? Nothing that was her answer she couldn't do anything but let the fear of being alone consume her.

Cloud's days were just as long spending his long working hours travelling all around Gaia, today wasn't a too bad day for his work load most of his haul was going to Junon so he didn't have a great way to travel especially after the WRO had built highways all around the world they were mostly for their use and by that it meant transporting their products to and from the oil wells or cities but the public were able to use them after all the WRO was all about protecting and providing a better world for everyone. Cloud's thoughts were mostly consumed with thoughts of Tifa of late, she had always been there in his mind but had been pushed to the deepest parts of his mind and heart until recently and he could admit to himself he didn't mind it but it made his life at home awkward in many ways. He had finished his deliveries in Junon and had one last delivery to drop off at Billy's Chocobo farm the only problem was he hated going to Billy's he always lectured him about how he should just settle down with Tifa and have kids and everything that came with being a couple and it would hurt even more this time around as his feelings for Tifa had began to resurface.

When the fear would get to much for Tifa she would lock up and go for a stroll, which did seem to help to an extent she couldn't tell though if it was being out in the 'fresh air' or that the streets were always full of people going about their business that where a comfort to Tifa but she knew being out in the opened helped. As she walked to the new park that had been built she heard the sound of an animal whimpering as she headed down the street and as she got closer the whimpering became more louder and when she approached the sound she could she a black tail sticking out from under a pile of scrap metal, bending down she carefully lifted the metal to reveal a rather shabby looking puppy, keeping her voice low and soothing she reached out to the puppy

"It okay I'm not going to hurt you" she cooed as she lifted the puppy into her arms, she turned then back to the bar instead of counting on her walk. When she arrived back home she began running a bath that she could wash the poor animal in and as the water ran she gave it some food and water which gulped up happily. Suddenly Tifa didn't feel quite as lonely having this puppy come into her life but the gloom still hung over her and couldn't wait until nightfall when Cloud would be back.

Billy was waiting at the door from the minute Fenrir's engine came into hearing distance waiting for his package to arrive. Cloud pulled the bike to a halt and before dismounting he unlocked the compartment that held all his packages and fished out the remaining item then dismounting he headed over to Billy. Cloud followed Billy in after Billy insisted that he stay for some tea and Cloud for course couldn't say no even though he wanted to.

"So how's the misses?" Billy asked pouring hot water into a mug

"I've told you Billy she's not my wife" Cloud sighed leaning against the kitchen counter

"Well if you don't do something about that soon you may find her in the arms of another man one day" Billy said and something about what he said struck a nerve, the idea of Tifa with another man suddenly unhinged him and he couldn't wait around here any longer he had to get back home he had to get there before his chance to be with the women he loved ran out.

"I'm sorry Billy I've got to go" Cloud said before he raced out the door and jumped on Fenrir before he raced off towards Midgar and Edge. He didn't even have time to notice Billy's smile.

The kids were now in bed, they had begged Tifa to stay up so they could say goodnight to Cloud but Tifa had won the argument when the kids simply couldn't stop yawning and hardly stay stood up so without another word she sent them off to bed. She had finished cleaning the bar a while ago and usually would just go to bed but the puppy wanted some attention first. The kids had been so hyper when they came home to find a new pet lying on the living room floor, the puppy a black and white husky with blue eyes almost like Cloud's was an instant hit the children had immediately asked the puppy's name and when they found out it didn't yet have one the kids began arguing over the names they liked best, Marlene wanted to call him scruffy and Denzel wanted to call him Fenrir as he reminded him of the bike and in the end Fenrir won. Tifa sat one of the bar stools her hand softly petting Fenrir's ears until tiredness over took her and she fell asleep on the barstool her head resting on the bar.

When Cloud arrived home that night he saw Tifa slouched at the bar asleep accompanied by a puppy, the puppy looked up at the new comer when he approached, Cloud slowly reached out his hand to let the dog sniff him and after a few seconds the puppy licked his hand, Cloud couldn't help but smile the dog seemed to be almost protecting Tifa when he arrived and the puppy was up by Cloud's heel ready to follow him. Cloud lifted the sleeping Tifa into his arms and carried her up to her bed, gently he placed her down and placed a couple of blankets over her but as he turned to the leave the puppy that had followed him upstairs whined slightly and ran to block the door before whining a little again, Cloud just rolled his eyes and went to Tifa's bed, it was a king after all so it wouldn't be to awkward sharing for one night would it? Cloud curled up at the edge of the bed, his heart began to beat fast and his pulse began to race at the close proximity to Tifa, the puppy then joined Cloud and the already asleep Tifa on the bed and curled up and fell asleep at Tifa's feet. Cloud had no idea what he was going to say in the morning when Tifa woke and for around an hour he just watched her sleep and wonder the whole time what would it be like to kiss those lips of hers. The next morning he woke to find her curled up beside him, her head was leaning against his chest and her arms partly wrapped him as his arms were wrapped around her pulling her closer to him at that minute he could feel the fire in his heart that shined in his eyes and couldn't stop himself when he moved forward and kissed her soft red lips. They tasted better than he imaged vanilla filled his mouth as warmth spread within him and he didn't want to pull apart but when he did she opened her eyes, she smiled warmly and pulled him closer to her and kissed her again.

Tifa's eyes fluttered open at the feel of Cloud's soft lips against hers and the sound of the puppy's whimpers.

"Cloud?" Tifa asked her voice barely a whisper

"Yes Teef?" Cloud sheepishly grinned

"I love you" Tifa admitted

"I love you too Teef" Cloud returned as he went to kiss Tifa again but before their lips meet, the puppy whimpered again and they pulled apart.

"Teef when did we get a puppy?" Cloud asked and all Tifa could do was giggle.