Red roses mean love

By Kimetara

Multi-part

Disclaimer: I don't own FFVII.

AN: Well, I guess I couldn't leave it alone after all.  ^_^;;  "Waves of Pain" was originally supposed to be a one-shot, honest.  But then I got the urge to write a Tifa/Vincent fic, so...here it goes.

Just as a warning – I'm not sure how often I'll be working on this fic.  "Jade, Wine, and Turk training" is currently my main project.  Thank you and I hope you enjoy!

*italics* = thought

***** = flashback

~~~~~ = time/POV break

Chapter One

           *Stupid!  Stupid stupid stupid!* Tifa raged at herself as she sobbed into her pillow.  *...I guess this is what you get for eavesdropping...*

          She smiled through her tears at the ridiculous turn in her thoughts.  Eavesdropping karma was the least of her worries...

*****

          Tifa had just woken and was on her way downstairs to make breakfast.  She, Cloud, and Vincent had all returned to Nibelheim after Meteor had been destroyed, and she'd graciously offered for Vincent to stay at her house – after all, she did have a spare bedroom, and he was currently having the mansion cleaned, thanks to Tifa's tactful suggestions.  Cloud had begun coming over for breakfast and dinner, as he woefully had no cooking skills whatsoever – pretty soon, he was staying at her house too, much to Tifa's happiness.  And once Vincent's mansion was clean, the three all moved in, used to each other's company and in need of the space.

          "Hey, Vincent?  I need to talk."  Tifa's ears perked.  Although Vincent was always awake at the crack of dawn, Cloud was never up this early.

          "Go ahead."  Vincent's voice was as monotone as always.

          "It's about Tifa..." now Tifa was hooked, "You see, I've been here for three months now, and I really want to go look for Aeris..."

          "So do so."

          "But Tifa wants to come.  I know she does, she's asked me before when 'we' were leaving."

          "That's a problem?"

          "...I'd rather go look for Aeris myself..." was Cloud's hesitant answer.

          Tifa had fled back upstairs before she could hear anymore.

*****

          *Idiot,* she berated herself once more, before sighing and wiping her face.  She had to go downstairs soon, or else they'd be wondering where she was...

~~~~~

          Vincent leaned against the wall, his mind running over the conversation he had this morning.

*****

          "...I'd rather go look for Aeris myself..."

          "Then tell her."

          "Egh...it'd hurt her feelings so badly though..." Cloud worried, scratching the back of his head. 

          "So?"  Vincent raised an eyebrow.  "Do you have something else in mind?"

          "Yeah, actually...I'm going to leave now.  I want to go before Tifa's up."

          Vincent, with his enhanced hearing, knew that Tifa was already up but made no comment.  "...I see," he answered flatly, feeling his respect for their old leader diminish.  What did Cloud think he was doing?  Tifa would be just as hurt, if not more, if he simply disappeared.  But it was no concern of his.

          "...yeah, so...take care of her, okay Vincent?"

          "..."

          Cloud grinned.  "I'm glad you've moved in with her.  I feel a lot better, knowing she's not alone."

          "..."  Vincent's other eyebrow raised.  Since when was he considered company?

          "Yeah, then...bye.  I'll see you...when I see you, I guess."  Cloud turned and walked through the door.

*****

          The raven-haired man sighed, when his ears caught the creak of the steps.  Tifa was coming back down.

          This would not be pleasant...

          Tifa glanced around as she came down the steps, and spotted Vincent, as usual, leaning against the wall of the parlor.  "Good morning, Vincent!" she called cheerfully.

          Vincent settled his gaze on her.  "...Cloud left."

          Tifa paled.  "Did he?" she managed out, her voice faint.  For a moment, Vincent was afraid she'd collapse, but she managed to pull together.  "To go look for Aeris, I suppose," she spoke, her voice bitter.

          Vincent gave a slight nod, watching Tifa as she struggled to hold back tears.

          "Do you mind if you cook breakfast today?  I don't really feel like it..."  Tifa trailed off, giving Vincent a pleading look.

          "That's fine."

"Thank you.  You don't need to cook for me if you don't want to," she finished, then stumbled into the west wing.  Vincent just barely saw her raise her hand to wipe the tears from her eyes.

          He sighed again.  *Wonderful...*

~~~~~

          He ate silently, listening to the mournful melody emitting from the piano in the next room.  When it hit a particularly poignant section, a missed note caused the harmony of the tune to fail.

          He listened as Tifa started over from the beginning, but was unable to go past the first page from constant mistakes.  He listened as she finally just dropped both hands on the keys in frustration, and winced at the resounding discord that resulted.

          Vincent fluidly stood and picked up a tray next to him.

          Tifa wept, her tears blurring her vision until she was unable to read the sheet music correctly.  The brunette gave up and simply cried over the piano.

          Eventually, her tears ended, and Tifa cast about for a tissue.  To her surprise, there was one right before her face.

          "...thank you..." she whispered, taking it from the bronze claw.

          "You're welcome," Vincent answered curtly, before taking her arm and steering her to the little tea table.  Once there, he motioned for her to sit down, then set the tray down before her.

          Tifa smiled slightly at the food before her.  "Breakfast looks fantastic, Vincent," she complimented sincerely.  She hadn't been very hungry, but after seeing the perfect pancakes the ex-Turk had made...  "I think I may have competition as the best cook around here," she teased.

          Vincent said nothing, but sat in the chair opposite of her and watched Tifa eat.

          The sun was angled just so, and the light from the stained glass window poured down on Tifa's deep brown hair.

          She looked beautiful.

          She always looked beautiful.

          Vincent turned away, uncomfortable with the direction his thoughts were heading.

          "Well Vincent..." he turned back at the sound of her hesitant voice, "...I suppose you'll be leaving as well..." Tifa faltered, picking at her pancakes.

          "Why do you say that?" he asked, not sounding the least bit curious.  But Tifa was used to that.

          "Now that Cloud's gone..."

          Vincent's eyebrow rose slightly.  Surely she didn't think he stayed for Cloud's sake?  "Yes?"

          "Well..." Tifa played with the edge of the tablecloth, "I guess, now that Cloud's gone to look for his true love," the bitterness at the words didn't escape Vincent, "you'll be wanting to go too."

          "Lucrecia...doesn't wish to see me," Vincent responded flatly.  The room was quiet as Tifa absorbed these words.

          Finally, she raised deep, almost translucent burgundy eyes.  "...I'm happy for you, Vincent."

          "Hmmm?"

          She turned away.  The soft red light pouring from the glass now shone on her eyes, making them seem even deeper, if possible.  "Before, whenever you spoke of Lucrecia...it hurt you so much.  Like you were punishing yourself every time you even thought of her.  But now..."

          He nodded.  After meeting her at the waterfall cave, Vincent had come to terms...first with Lucrecia, then with himself.

          He hadn't drowned.

          Hadn't allowed himself to.

          Thanks to the woman before him.  He wouldn't leave her, now.  He owed her that much.  "Lucrecia has no need of me.  I shall stay here."  *With you.*

          Tifa smiled.  "Thank you, Vincent."

AN: Hmmm.  Well, there you have it.  Chapter one.  Hmmm.  Hehe, sorry, I'm trying to think of what I'm going to write next...  Oh!  I know!  ^_^  R&R!