A/N: Lucky thirteen, this is my thirteenth FF VII fic (lol, why am I even keeping tabs on that?). Can't believe it happened that fast! :O I've been wanting to write this for quite a while now. And I promise to work on those requests as soon as I have time (which will probably be the next summer, because I won't be updating anything longer than 100 words for a looong time…). Hope you guys enjoy! Let me know if you did... or if I should feel ashamed of the monster that I created, and never show my face in this fandom again.
Also, the cover for this one-shot is drawn by the lovely *Seraphim210, on dA. Please don't use this piece without her permission!
Thanks: M. L. Ayala, for being such a wonderful beta every single time. :)
~ "How dare you use the poor boy to satisfy your own needs like that? Just because Denzel has a huge crush on you doesn't automatically mean you can take advantage of that fact by using him as your personal slave!" ~
Sweat trickled down the silent boy's forehead, as he awaited the final judgement. By the way he was behaving, you'd think that his life was depending on it. Well, his dignity certainly was. He kept staring at the young woman who liked to call herself the 'Single White Rose of Wutai', as she took a small, almost tentative sip of the light green-colored drink in her hand. The child gulped, because she stayed silent, a thoughtful expression on her face.
Eventually, she spoke, but it wasn't good news for him. "This lemonade is just too watery, Denz. I can't drink it like this! Here, take it back and make me a new one." Denzel blinked, looking utterly dumbfounded as far as that went in his current zombie-like state. Nevertheless, he took the glass from her, blushing when their finger tips touched, and turned, heading for the kitchen again. "Oh, and while you're at it, don't forget to bring me some waffles! I know Tifa always keeps them in that top drawer," the young ninja quickly called after him as an afterthought.
Even though she didn't get a reply back, she knew he wouldn't forget (otherwise she would kick his ass). With a content sigh, the raven-haired young woman let herself fall back in the soft cushions on the couch, only to notice that Tifa was staring at her with the weirdest expression on her face. And by weird, she definitely didn't mean 'good.' No, 'scary' was a more fitting term. She was looking at her with that kind of expression that would probably even leave Cloud shivering in his shoes, and that certainly said something.
"What now?" Yuffie questioned defiantly, tilting her head to the side.
"What do you think you're doing?"
Despite the fact that Tifa's voice had been calm, Yuffie immediately knew that something was off. Still, that didn't stop her from replying cheekily, "What does it look like I'm doing?"
The two raven-haired women seemed to hold some sort of heated eye-contest between them, until Yuffie finally seemed to understand what was bothering the elder woman. "Oh, I get it! Ya think I shoulda asked him to bring some waffles for you, too? Sorry, will try to remember that next time," she assured Tifa with the widest grin she could muster.
However, if the Wutaian warrior had thought that this would please the bartender, she was horribly wrong. If anything, it only seemed to aggravate her usually calm and kind friend.
"Excuse me?" she balked incredulously, putting her hands on her hips.
At this point, Yuffie wasn't really sure if she meant to look more frightening this way, but if that had been her main goal, then she was certainly succeeding.
"I said-" the bubbly female started, only to be interrupted by a suddenly flat-out furious (and still scary) Tifa.
"How dare you use the poor boy to satisfy your own needs like that? Just because Denzel has a huge crush on you doesn't automatically mean you can take advantage of that fact by using him as your personal slave!"
Well, then that was where they strongly disagreed with each other, but the usually hyper young woman was wise enough to keep that to herself, since Tifa honestly looked like she had to restrain herself from attacking Yuffie right on the spot. And she knew how painful her kicks could be.
Yuffie blinked, surprised. "…Are you angry?"
"You bet I'm angry!"
She had the full right to be more than a little ticked off at Yuffie's childish antics, because this was her adoptive son they were talking about! Surely, Yuffie wasn't that heartless to use the poor child and treat him like trash?
"Okay. Look, Boobs," Yuffie started again, now with an air of annoyance as well. "I can't help it that I'm so totally awesome that everyone wants a piece of this." She made a vague gesture to herself that would've earned her a laugh, had this not been about Denzel. "If the boy wants to treat me on waffles, just let him. Surely he's got enough brains of his own to decide what's good or bad for him, without you smothering him like this! And I don't hear him complain about anything."
"That's because he doesn't even realize what he's doing!" the bartender countered fiercely, slamming a fist on the wall nearby (it was a small miracle that the wall didn't get any cracks in it, because that woman was a killing machine).
By now, any other person would've concluded that the best thing to do was to get the hell out of here, but not Yuffie. Certainly not Yuffie. If anything, she found it slightly amusing to see the eldest woman in this state. Heck, not even Cloud managed to get her this pissed off, and everyone knew that that man could do lots of stupid things at once.
"Not my problem," the younger woman chirped decidedly.
At that moment, though, she could almost swear that steam came out of Tifa's ears. The raven-haired woman had much trouble with staying in control of her emotions, and more importantly, her breathing. She seemed to lean heavily on the countertop of the bar. Suddenly, Yuffie got what people meant when they said it was a stupid idea to mess with a mother; Tifa looked like a lioness who was sensing that her offspring was in grave danger. And by the looks of it, this lioness was ready to kill to save her child.
"You need to stop this," Tifa tried again, trying to sound more patient now. "How would you feel if someone did the same to you?"
Yuffie thought about this for a moment, frowning lightly. Then she replied, "I would be honored as heck to serve the Greatest Ninja ever!"
"You're going to regret this," the elder beauty warned her and it took her all her willpower not to attack Yuffie right then and there, especially when the latter started to grin wickedly in a way only she could do.
The ninja's dark eyes twinkled mischievously. "Yeah, we'll see 'bout that, Teef. Now where's my waffles?"
That earned her a glare that, by the looks of it, could even melt gold if it wanted to, but Yuffie merely ignored that.
-A few days later…
The afternoon sun fell through the windows, illuminating the bar 7th Heaven in an almost magical way and making it bathe in the sunlight. It seemed to be one of those regular Thursdays, in which Cloud was actually home and Yuffie and even Vincent Valentine came visiting them. Denzel and Marlene were currently doing their homework in another room, leaving the grownups to talk freely.
Of course, this was what Tifa had been waiting for all this time, because what better way was there than to try and embarrass Yuffie in front of her friends, right? Maybe that would finally open her eyes and make her realize that what she was doing was wrong. She'd had more than enough of watching her order that poor boy around. As for Denzel, his crush on Yuffie was just too big to make him realize that maybe he was being used. Tifa had tried that method already and it had proven to be fruitless. And what did he get back for that? Exactly; nothing! That just had to change, and now.
However, surprisingly enough, a usually quiet Cloud seemed to beat her to the punch this time, when he started, "Before I forget, I heard something quite interesting today from one of Denzel's friends."
Tifa decided to play dumb and even though she had a hunch what he was going to say, she asked quasi-surprised, "Oh? And what might that be?"
Cloud crossed his arms over his chest. His electric blue eyes seemed to rest briefly on Yuffie's form, before he replied calmly, "It seems that he's told all of his friends that a certain Wutaian ninja called Yuffie has promised to go on a date with him."
Wow, that definitely had to be the longest sentence that Cloud had ever made, Tifa mused, tucking a stray strand of midnight-colored hair behind her ear. Still, that wasn't what mattered now. Her gaze travelled automatically to the ninja, awaiting her reaction, while trying to fight a grin appearing on her face. Because that would ruin everything, wouldn't it?
Apparently, it took a little while for Yuffie's brains to progress this piece of information, but suddenly, her dark eyes widened in what had to be pure horror and she shrieked, "WHAT?!"
"What, you mean you're actually surprised?" Tifa questioned (a little too cheerfully), with a raise of a thin brow. She had trouble keeping a straight face, but fortunately for her, Yuffie was too angry to notice any of that.
Clenching her hands into fists, she stared Tifa straight in the eyes and exclaimed, "Well, yeah, of course I am! Because I never said such a thing."
"Uhm, except that you did, Yuffie," Tifa reminded her as gently as she could.
The young woman gave her a highly incredulous look, which clearly said, 'You think I'm that crazy?' at which Tifa merely smiled knowingly.
"Yes, I heard it, too," Cloud commented calmly from where he was still leaning against the wall in the same posture, close enough to his friends to participate in their conversation without making it look like he wanted to be left alone.
"And so did I," Vincent, who had been quiet all this time, was quick to add.
"Hey, you're supposed to be on my side!" Vincent simply ignored her and brought his cup of tea closer to his mouth to take another sip. Yuffie now turned to Tifa, pointing at her, as she continued, "And you're supposed to talk him out of this stupid idea, instead of encouraging him. You're his mother...figure after all!"
The female bartender raised a thin brow. "Oh, I don't see why I should. I told you that I didn't like how you command him around, so you'll have to solve this yourself, Yuf."
Yuffie's mouth dropped open. "But-"
Tifa lifted a hand before the younger female could finish her sentence. "You didn't listen to me when I asked you to stop this nonsense before it was too late, so it wouldn't make much sense if I listened to you now and did as you asked, would it?"
Yuffie took a moment to think about her words, a small frown appeared on her forehead. "I guess that's fair enough…" She bit her lip, while trying her last trump. "Don't you mind at all that he's dating someone who's almost twice as old?"
"Not mentally," Cloud muttered softly, but that didn't go unheard by the ninja's ears.
"Hey! What's that supposed to mean?"
But the spiky-haired blonde didn't bother to reply this time. He had probably reached his maximum word quota per day.
"Alright then. Don't talk, Mister "So-Here's-My-Number-But-I-Never-Pick-Up-My-Phone!"
This time, Cloud merely lifted his brow, showing how unimpressed he was by that name.
And honestly, Yuffie had no idea how Tifa did it, but eventually, the woman managed to persuade her to do as she had promised…apparently.
The sulking young woman gave up and let out a long-suffering sigh. "Ugh, alright, alright, fine! But only one date!" She lifted her index finger to emphasize her point. "And I hope you know I hate you all."
Not awaiting their (baffled) reaction, she immediately went to the other room to get Denzel, who was still busy with doing his homework, and practically dragged him off the chair he was sitting on.
"H-hey!" he protested lightly, until he noticed who it was. That was when he tensed completely, and a blush made its way on his face.
The boy looked away hastily, wondering all the while what in the world he could have done wrong to make Yuffie this furious. Sure, he thought she was beautiful anyway, even if it meant she was glaring daggers at people... But she looked ready to kill him off and that was rather unsettling to say the least. Should he ask her what was wrong, or was it a better idea to utter a quick ejaculatory prayer?
"C'mon, you," was all she said, helping him get on his feet.
"Huh? Where are we going?" he asked, rather dazed and obviously oblivious to everything.
The only thought that crossed his mind was the possibility that perhaps Yuffie wanted to kill him for all those times that he'd brought her watery lemonade. But didn't she see that he'd done it all out of love? Didn't that count at all?
However, her reply came as a big surprise. "You're gonna take me out on a date. The sooner we're over this, the better. And no kissing, touching, or anything that will make me want to kill you right away. Got that!"
Whoa... Am I dreaming?
A feeling of pure euphoria washed over him the instant he heard those sweet, sweet words and he had to pinch his arm to check if this was really happening. Honestly, this was almost too good to be true! Denzel had always thought that Yuffie would never reciprocate his feelings. That was why he'd never bothered to ask her. Boy, he'd never been this glad to be wrong in his whole life! Okay, so maybe she didn't want him to kiss her, or hold hands with her, but who said that it wasn't possible for him to make her change her mind? There had to be a reason that she wanted to date him all of a sudden without him ever asking her, right?
"W-wait! I don't have any money on me!" Denzel swiftly cried.
And as much as he hated to admit it, he'd spend all his pocket money on toys and other important, manly stuff. How in the world was he supposed to buy her a drink when he was as broke as a tramp?
"No worries, I'll pay. Now, stop the talking and come on. Before I change my mind."
Well, she certainly didn't have to say that twice. "O-okay."
Cloud waited until they were out of earshot, before he muttered to Tifa, "Something tells me that Denzel won't have a crush on her for that long anymore."
"I think you're right," Tifa said earnestly, nodding all the while. "And when he finally realizes that maybe they aren't such a good match, I just hope that Yuffie won't start falling for him, instead… She never likes to spend her money and now she even wants to pay for everything? That can't be a good sign..."
"I on the other hand, will be more than glad if she falls for Denzel, since that would finally give me some well deserved peace," Vincent commented, although everyone knew that he didn't really mean it. After all, if there was anyone who would oppose to the idea of Denzel and Yuffie getting together, it was this man, because he cared more about the hyper ninja than anyone would ever know. "As for now, it looks like she'll try to kill me as soon as her date is over, because I sided with you two."
"I bet that's some sight to see," the spiky-haired ex-SOLDIER noted, thoroughly amused, as they all watched new 'couple's' retreating backs. "I think she might go after me first when she finds out that Denzel never said anything like that to anyone."
It was silent for the longest of times, both Vincent and Tifa at a complete loss of words. Eventually, Tifa broke the silence by uttering, "You... made it all up?"
The spiky-haired man shrugged in response, but the tiniest of smirks confirmed her suspicions and she had to laugh.
"Who had ever thought you had it in you? Though I would sleep with one eye open tonight if I were you. Yuffie's not going to like this..."
A/N: I would really appreciate it if you could take a look at my new poll and vote. But that aside, how did I do with this one? :)