Tifa Lockhart Appreciation Week: Day 3: Tifa + Family

“Now running a delivery business while helping out Tifa with the newly opened “Seventh Heaven” bar, Cloud, Tifa, Marlene and Denzel lived together like a family.”

Barret only picked up that something was wrong when Cloud led him into the bathroom. Tifa had a such a cool and hard to read face that he never could read her. He was positive he had a good read on Cloud. 

He decided he was wrong. 

“I just…if I’m right, I don’t want the kids to know,” Cloud said. Which explained how he could be all smiles as he served up breakfast. Cloud wasn’t the best actor, but he certainly could hide something. 

“What’s wrong,” Barret asked. He knew by the way Cloud hesitated it had to be real bad. Cloud treated most bad news like a bandage; just rip it off so he could see and deal with the damage. This was something more. If Barret knew Cloud as well as he thought he did…then Cloud was scared. 

“I felt weird when I woke up,” Cloud said, “and…there was dark droplets on my pillow. When I felt it…I pulled off black goop. It could be…I hope it’s just blood, but…” 

“Cloud,” Barret started. 

“I need you to check,” Cloud said, “If…if I’ve relapsed, if it’s geostigma again…you’re the one who’ll tell me straight.” Barret looked at him a long time. 

“Turn around,” he said at last. Cloud turned and faced the mirror, gripping the edge of the counter. He couldn’t watch in the mirror, just looked down into the sink. 

The seconds were agonizing. It wasn’t that it hurt. Years of patching up Marlene’s scrapes and scratches had Barret’s nursing skills down to a near science. It didn’t sting a bit. The worst was just not knowing. 

Barret leaned forward and wet down a towel. Cloud felt it rubbing firmly, but gently over the back of his head. 

“That’s a nasty cut you got there,” Barret said, “how the hell did that happen without you noticing?”

“But…it’s not?” Cloud looked up finding Barret’s eyes in the mirror. Barret gave him a stern look and held up the messy towel. Reddish brown, but no black. 

Cloud’s legs gave out on him. He fell against the counter. He didn’t realize he was sobbing until Barret started dabbing at his eyes with toilet paper, murmuring quiet comforting words. 

“We are goin’ to a doctor though,” Barret said, “that’s deep and looks like it might need stitches. And I want it cleaned out proper, no Tifa dumping vodka on it and calling it good.” Cloud just nodded, too relieved to argue. 

“Hey,” Denzel said, coming in and holding up a book, “Cloud, this was on your floor…why’s it all bloody?” 

“Son of a bitch!” Cloud said. 

“Language!” Tifa shouted across Seventh Heaven. 

“I told you that bookshelf wasn’t holdin’ nothin,” Barret said, “You’re taking it off the wall.” 

pichupal  asked:

How about number 2 for "Date Night"? FFVII, but no idea about a pairing - I mainly picked it because want to know why you think it's "in quotes". Maybe it's a mission turned into a date? Sephiroth goes out and buys dates (the fruit)? Zack dresses up as a Knight for Date Knight? The possibilities are endless.

Those are all really cute! I’m not really sure where mine came from. 

“You know,” Cloud said, “we could always just tell them we’re not out on a date night.” Barret ignored him and kept his eyes on Seventh Heaven. Actually the windows of second storey where the kids were supposed to be. 

Denzel and Marlene insisted Barret and Cloud go out on a date night tonight. They were determined that the two had to get out of the house which made Barret suspicious. They had reservations for dinner at one of the nicer restaurants already made for them which made Cloud think it was sincere. One call from Tifa confirmed she helped the kids set it up. The only thing not on Cloud’s side was that Tifa was in Wutai helping Yuffie with WRO stuff. 

Which left the kids alone. 

“You really think they’re gonna throw a party or some shit?” Cloud asked. 

“They’re up to somethin’“ Barret insisted, “and I wanna know what. Marlene wasn’t talkin’ to me when she was shovin’ us out the door. That means she’s hiding something.” 

“She’s almost 13,” Cloud said, “I say it’s about time she started hiding something from you. It’s part of that age…or at least it was for me.”

“But you’re a little shit,” Barret pointed out, “shouldn’ta been a surprise for you.” Cloud patted his shoulder. 

“I’m no good at this either,” Cloud assured him, “but knowing Marlene if she’s keeping a secret, it’s probably not that big a deal. Now Denzel…I’d be more worried about Denzel. If he’s hiding stuff it’s probably because he doesn’t want us to worry.” Barret shook his head and finally turned to look at Cloud. 

“Do you really think I’m overreacting?” he asked. 

“No,” Cloud said, “You have good reasons, but I still say we give them a shot and leave them along for an hour or so. Worst case scenario: we come back and the bar is on fire.” Barret knew it was supposed to be a joke, but his brow furrowed more. 

“I just…I worry that I left her alone for too long,” Barret said, “that I worried too much about the planet, when I shoulda been with her…with you.” Cloud smiled and touched Barret’s jaw gently. 

“Marlene doesn’t,” Cloud said, “and I don’t either. You did your best and she knows that. She knows you never stopped caring, not once. She was always on your mind, everyone knows that.” Barret nuzzled into Cloud’s hand. He started when he heard the doors to Seventh Heaven slam shut. Cloud’s hands held his head in place. 

“Don’t look,” Cloud said. 


“It’s a father’s day present,” Cloud said, “for us.”

“So…why can’t I see that?” Barret asked. 

“Because you can’t keep a secret,” Cloud said, “they’re trying to surprise us and Marlene reads you like a book.” Barret stared Cloud down, then dissolved into guffaws. Cloud hugged him and smiled. letting him laugh into his shoulder. 

“You know,” Cloud said, “we could still make that reservation…if we take Fenrir and disregard a lot of traffic laws.”

“I hate that thing,” Barret grumbled, but was still smiling when Cloud nudged him.