*~*Sometimes…Sorry Just Isn't Enough*~*

Full Summary: Cloud has to go on a five-day long delivery so Tifa is forced to keep things under control for the next few days by herself. Operating only on a very low amount of sleep; the stress of organizing delivery orders, running Seventh Heaven, and dealing with Marlene's constant nightmares in the middle of the night really takes a toll on her. When Cloud gets back, Tifa seems… off to him. Will his love be enough for her to forgive him for leaving for such a long time on such a short notice?

"Cloud…" Tifa sleepily groaned over the faint screaming heard in the next room. "It's your turn."

"No, I did it last night, Tifa."

"But remember I did it twice in a row last week? This is you making up for it."


"Please," she begged.

Cloud let out a husky and exasperated breath, "Tifa, I would do it. You know I would, but... I haven't gotten very much sleep because of these last few deliveries. At most, I've had 6 hours in the past few days..."

Tifa thought about his situation for a moment. I haven't gotten too much sleep either... She heard Marlene's shrieks turn into whimpering. But someone has to do it. Cloud… you owe me. She sighed then was about to sit up, but then she felt an arm come across her body and grab her shoulder. She looked at the half-asleep Cloud and moved closer to him, not knowing what he was doing at first. He slowly met their lips together, and she immediately knew what he was getting at. His touch electrified her senses. She sub-consciously turned onto her side into a more comfortable position and put her hand on his firm chest. Tifa could feel his warm even breaths tickling her Cupid's Bow.

When the short kiss was over, Cloud put their foreheads together. "Thank you."

Tifa only smiled, and removed Cloud's arm that was draped over her waist then sat up. The cotton sheets of their bed still partially covering her legs. She took a deep breath and got out of the elevated bed and walked out of the bedroom. Her eyes already adjusted to the darkness, she went over to the place where Marlene's shrieks could be heard and opened her door.

Marlene was thrashing in her sleep her eyeballs rapidly moving back and forth underneath her eyelids. Tears just barely squeezing out of the corners of her eyes. Tifa saw this and rushed over to Marlene then cradled her inside of her comforting arms, shushing the weeping girl. She whispered soothing words to ease her pain. But, that night, it took more than just words to comfort Marlene. So, Tifa decided to sing a song.

Oh, my child, you cry so many tears,
Seems like you've been crying for the world;
Oh, my child, your world so full of fears,
Seems like you've been crying for the world.

Hush, my child and lay you down to sleep,
Seems like you've been crying for the world;
Hush, my child your tears that burn so deep,
Seems like you've been crying for the world.

{The Next Day}

Tifa woke to the sound of a phone ringing while lying next to Marlene. She untangled herself from the sheets and walked out of the bedroom, her silk nightgown stained with tears. She went into the office where the phone was located and saw that Cloud was already awake and alert on the phone.

"Hello, Strife Delivery Service. You name it, we deliver it," He said almost with a yawn. Tifa just watched Cloud as he nodded his head in agreement. "O-oh… way out there?" he asked the person on the other line. "Yeah that should be fine." The client said something else to him that sounded like a thanks then Cloud hung up the phone

"Where is the delivery this time?" Tifa asked Cloud who didn't seem the least bit surprised by her appearance. He handed her a small slip of paper with information on the client's order. Tifa looked taken aback by what she saw when she looked at the small sheet. "Way out there?"

Cloud nodded.

"But… that's a week's trip."

"I know." Cloud stretched his arms. "They said that they would pay us triple, though."

"But Cloud… how will I be able to run Seventh Heaven, take care of the orders, and deal with Marlene's constant nightmares every night with out you here for the next week?"

Cloud walked over to Tifa and put both of his hands in hers. "Tifa, I know it will be hard but, we need the money."

"But for five days? I won't have enough energy, especially with the amount of sleep I'm getting."

"I know, Tifa." He pulled her close inside an embrace. "It's gonna be hard on everyone for the next few days. But I promise it will be worth it."

It was times like these when Tifa wanted to just push Cloud away. But… she just couldn't. This would probably be her last source of serenity for the next week, and she had to make the most of it.

Within the next couple of hours, Cloud had finished packing supplies for the long delivery ahead. They gave each other one last kiss and parted ways. Marlene and Denzel hadn't even woken up yet. About an hour past when they finally did, though. They were sad to hear the news about Cloud's leave.

The next few days were stressful. Though, it wasn't unexpected. No, not in the least bit. Tifa knew that these would be aggravating. But then again; knowing something, and actually experiencing it, is like day and night—it is completely different. She felt like the odds were working absolutely against her: Every night at Seventh Heaven, the customers seemed to always go far past their drinking limit, causing Tifa to have to bounce almost every single one of them before they destroyed the bar. The delivery orders were getting backed up because of Cloud's week-long trip. And on top of all of that, soothing Marlene at night became harder, and took a lot longer. Tifa never even asked what her bad dreams were about anymore. Sure, it was selfish of her to not even waste time on asking, but all Tifa wanted to do was get as much sleep as possible. Which wasn't ever more than a few minutes.

The lack of sleep was really getting to her. She had even considered screaming at Marlene to go back to sleep. One time, she almost did, but then she realized that it wasn't Marlene's fault. It was never her fault. She couldn't lash out on anyone. She had to keep her cool.

On Thursday, though; Tifa had about had it. Cloud still wasn't going to be back until late Saturday evening and yet another stubborn customer kept asking on and on for more rounds, even though Tifa refused to serve him. He was getting way too out of hand.

"Hey, hey… waitress!" His voice sounded broken, and slurred. He was yelling obnoxiously, even though he was sitting in one of the bar stools right next to her, "C-can I get another drink over here?"

This was the sixth time he had asked. Tifa already denied him five times, and she wasn't going to repeat herself another. It was nearly 9 o'clock at night. Which was, relatively early, but Tifa just knew that he was one of those people who couldn't handle their drinks. One of the other customers had just walked out, so Tifa went over to the side of the bar where they had left their money and a mess. The Stubborn One was still begging for a drink, and Tifa was still ignoring him. Then, for no reason, the man suddenly got quiet. Too quiet. She looked over at the seat he was in but he wasn't there. She felt a small rush of wind pass behind her and immediately knew that the man was behind her. She turned around to find the man with a broken wine bottle gripped in his hand.

"I asked you for another goddamn drink, L-lady!" His moves were uneven and choppy. His skill level was way out of Tifa's league. Before, she would have never even attempted to even waste time on him because of how weak he is. But, tonight was different. The built up stress and his annoying whining for a drink had gotten on Tifa's very last nerve.

And, she was PMS-ing. That was a plus.

She balled her fist and punched him hard in the stomach before he even got to swing. But she didn't stop there. She kept punching him in the face over and over and over again. She grabbed each of his shoulders to keep him in place and kneed him. Then grabbed his forearm and twisted it behind his back, his sweaty neck just barely above her nose. She stood a little taller so that she could whisper warnings for him to never come back again, inside of his ear. But he seemed to be at the point of unconsciousness from the force of her hits, so he probably didn't understand. Tifa opened the entrance bar and pushed him outside. He stumbled and fell down like a rock, not even making an attempt to try to move. Tifa knew he wasn't dead; but at the time, she wouldn't have even cared if he was. She walked back inside and the other customers were long gone after they saw the frightful scene. Tifa locked the door behind her and walked up the small stairway to go to her room, not even caring about the mess in the bar. She lied down in her bed with her work clothes still on and fell asleep.

Tifa heard Marlene again a few hours later. She didn't go to comfort the girl, though. All she did was shutter and flinch every time Marlene let out another mournful cry for help. This screaming was driving her to a point of no return. All she could do at that point was bury her head under the pillow to block out the noise and force herself to sleep.

If she hadn't, she might have taken her emotions out on Marlene.

Tifa jolted out of her sleep the next morning; the memory of what exactly happened the previous night, just barely coming to her. She stared at the alarm clock next to her. It was 5:30 in the morning. She got out of her bed and went the shut door that she didn't remember closing, not even noticing that her work clothes were changed into proper sleeping attire. She went down the stairs that led to the front of the bar and saw that everything was spick and span. The shattered glass was swept up, the tables were cleaned off, even the dishes were done. She wondered who could have done these chores. Tifa unlocked the front door and saw that the man from last night had gone, only a fairly large patch of dried up blood on the dusty ground showed evidence that he was even there. She walked back inside, only to hear a low hum just barely echoing throughout the place.

Marlene, she thought. Oh no… I have to go and apologize for last night.

She found herself listening at the closed doorway of Marlene's room, where the source of the hushed tune seemed to be coming from. Tifa slightly cracked the door open so that she could see what exactly was lying behind it.

Cloud and Marlene.

Marlene was sleeping peacefully on her stomach, her arm draped over a Moogle Plushie. Cloud was sitting beside her, rubbing her back and singing something so quiet that it would barely be heard by any normal human, but Tifa heard it perfectly. It was one of Marlene's favorite lullabies.

Tifa smiled at the two and she felt her eyes tearing up. Cloud… he's back a whole day early. But how…?

As if her thoughts traveled through the small crack in the door and went into his ears, Cloud stopped singing the song and got up from beside Marlene and started towards Tifa. He opened the door and Tifa jumped backwards. He moved so swiftly that she didn't even notice him until he was right in front of her.

"Cloud." She almost stuttered. "What are you…?"

"I met Cid about half-way down the way. He said he was going in that direction so he told me that he could make the rest of the trip."

"Really?" Tifa was a bit surprised. "I hope it wasn't any type of trouble to him…"

"No. It wasn't," Cloud said. The hallway was quiet for a moment. Neither of them saying anything. But then, they both finally spoke up at the same time.



"Uh…" Tifa cleared her throat. "You can go first."

Cloud nodded. "Tifa, I'm sorry."

"S-sorry…?" she asked.

He put one hand on her shoulder, the other on her waist. "Tifa, I… I know it must've been hard for you this week. We just… needed the money." He shook his head. "But I never should have left you. It was too much for you to handle on your own. And… I'm sorry."

She tried to brush off his apology, pretending like the week wasn't as hectic as it really was. "Cloud. It's okay!" She attempted to fake a smile. "T-the week was just fine…"

"Tifa, before I even walked in, I saw a man half-dead lying right outside of the door. You're telling me that the week was 'just fine'?"

"I mean… yeah. I guess."

"Tifa, you can tell me what happened," he assured, putting the hand that was on her shoulder also around her waist.

She looked down at her feet, her arms crossed over her chest. Then Tifa looked back at Cloud, his facial expression showing barely any emotion; but then she looked into his eyes, his windows to his soul. He really was sincere in what he was saying. And she wanted to tell him every single detail of the past week but… "No Cloud. I'm fine. I'm just tired, is all. Yeah, tired…"

"I know that isn't all that's wrong, Tifa." He looked into her eyes, also seeing her true emotions. "You didn't even change out of your clothes last night."

She was shocked when she finally looked down at her clothing and saw that she was in a pair of pajama pants and one of Cloud's old shirts. Did he really change her clothes for her last night? Was she so tired that she didn't even notice?

Tifa looked at the blond man standing broadly in front of her. His face almost radiated with tranquility. "Cloud, did you…?"

He answered her unfinished question with a nod.

Was it just her or did the temperature just get a little warmer? "Uhm… t-thank you."

He nodded again in response to her thanks. "Are you going to tell me about the week now?"

She smiled again. "Cloud, like I said: I'm just a little tired right now. But I'll be fine." Tifa took Cloud's from around her waist and started towards their bedroom.

Cloud stepped right in front of her, stopping her in her tracks. "Tifa…" He whispered then put his hand under her chin, guiding it to tilt upward so that he could feel her delicate lips. She didn't resist him in any way; she was just kind of… frozen. Cloud pushed his tongue onto her lips, urging her to part them open. She complied with his request immediately and moaned as soon as she felt his warm tongue swirling inside of her mouth. Then Cloud separated from the kiss too early. Tifa was confused on why he started the kiss which he did not finish. He looked dead into her eyes again. "Tifa. Please tell me how you really feel."

Tifa was slightly lost in the moment, she had held in her feelings for a while, then she let them run free last night. So now… all that is left is pain: Pain from the lack of sleep. Pain from the guilt of beating a guy up half to death. Pain from not being able to comfort Marlene last night.

But mostly, the pain of Cloud leaving her alone with all these duties.

She pulled away from his arms and just decided to let her last feeling, pain, run rampant. "You know what? I'll spare you the details and sum up the whole damn week for you: shitty."

Cloud was surprised at her choice of words, never hearing her use them before. But he stayed quiet.

She went on, "My whole week was awful.If it wasn't one thing, it was another. It was hard enough when you were only here for half a day, but it was even harder not having you at all. And it just seemed like EVERYTHING was working against me this week, you know? And not only that but…" Tifa's voice started to crack. Oh no. She was starting to feel some tears welling up inside. But she cannot cry over this. No. She's much stronger than that. She swallowed back her incoming tears. "I just wished you were here to help me out. That's all I wanted."

"Tifa, I'm sorry," was all he could manage to say. He went back over and kissed her again, not sure of what else to do at that moment. But Tifa turned her face the other away.

"Sorry…?" she mumbled then let out a small laugh. "Cloud, right now, with the way I feel… sorry and a kiss won't cut it. This week was just…" Tifa tried to find the right word then took in a frustrated breath. "(sigh) Overwhelming, I guess. I thought I would be strong enough to handle it, but… last night I just cracked. I almost killed someone and left Marlene to deal with her nightmares by herself and…" She shook her head. "I don't know. I just need some sleep. Just a little bit before we open Seventh Heaven up again."

Tifa walked back to the bedroom. This time, Cloud didn't stop her.

Oh how he wanted to try and aid her in some type of way… But how? He already tried saying sorry. And like she said, a 'sorry' isn't gonna help her. He could keep apologizing but… it would never take away his guilt knowing that she was still hurting in some type of way. She was probably working like a dog during the past week. Because he just… left. How would he make this up to her?

Suddenly, he got an idea. Cloud grabbed a phone from his pocket and dialed a familiar number.

"Hey Spikey!" a man said on the other line.

"Do you know if you could gather some of the old group again? I need your help." Cloud, like usual, got straight to the point.

"Uh, sure. But what do ya' need help with?"

"I have a plan."

"Hm." The man grunted. "Okay. See ya' in a few, Spikey!"

"…Thanks Barret." Cloud hung up the phone.

He was going to make it up to Tifa somehow.

I have really been giving FFVII the cold shoulder lately... and I know I have some fellow Final Fantasy lover subscribers because of "I love you, Tifa". So, I hope you guys enjoyed yet another CloTi ONE-SHOT. (and people who are just barely reading my stories too)

And sorry I left you guys a little hangin' there... but I was seeing if maybe the readers could use their imaginations on how Cloud actually did make it up to her.

Please review, alert, and favorite! If you like the way I write my CloTi stories, doing those things will help me get more FFVII stuff up.

Thank you for reading! ^^

xxxHikari-Kuraixxx (xxxLight-Darkxxx)