Title: Good Things
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII
Disclaimer: No ownership implied, no profit gained. This is a fanwork.
Summary: Drowning sorrows in the rain.
Notes: You get to decide.
"the hardest part is things already said" - Sleater-Kinney, "Good Things"
It was one of those nights where the past couldn't be avoided. Or didn't want to be, at least. Cloud set his glass down on the bar as the storm outside droned on. The place was empty despite it being neither that early nor that late.
Without saying anything, Tifa quickly moved to refill his glass.
"Why do I do such stupid things sometimes?" Cloud asked as Tifa handed him another drink. "Why do I say such stupid things?"
Tifa just sighed as she watched Cloud shift his attention from her to the alcohol. He'd been staying with her for the last couple days, but so far she'd only managed to wrangle half the problem from him. The rest of the time he attempted to stay in a drunken stupor so, of his own words, he "didn't have to think about it."
"Cloud, you have to tell me what's going on. Then I can at least pick the correct reason for your stupidity," Tifa replied, mentally re-calculating her friend's ever-growing tab.
"I don't want to think about it," Cloud said, not looking up.
"Then why did you...? You're drunk. I should cut you off." Tifa turned back to where she'd been cleaning behind the bar. One of her day employees had spilled something and it was rather sticky and unwilling to come free from the counter. And during the last couple hours it also seemed to be gaining a layer of fuzz.
Thunder crashed as Tifa went into the backroom to look for a stronger cleaner. She knew that even inebriated, Cloud would keep the crowd in check. Not a crowd exactly, just four people playing pool and another pair in a dark corner really, but enough that Tifa wasn't going to close early.
Besides, that only meant more time with Cloud, alone. He was staying in her apartment above the bar and managed to keep her away from necessities (like long baths) with his constant self-defeating drunken diatribes.
She was starting to piece together enough details to know that it had something to do with a relationship. They'd drifted a bit, after Meteor, and she hadn't seen him in almost a year before he pulled himself into her bar a few nights ago. She wasn't sure even who Cloud was dating these days. He'd never really struck her as the type, but that was based solely on her personal experience with him.
Another wave of thunder was shaking the bar as Tifa emerged from the backroom with a bottle of cleaner in her hand. The sticky spot wouldn't stand a chance against her now.
A quick glance at Cloud told her he was bordering on consciousness and that the pair sitting at the back table had vacated the bar, perhaps to find somewhere a bit more private. She set the cleaner down and went over to clear the table, pocketing the couple gil tip that was left there.
"I blew it," Cloud said when Tifa walked back by him. He was slurring his speech quite a bit, but Tifa knew him to be a truthful drunk. "I said something stupid. No, lotsa stupid things and I didn't realize it."
"Finally going to tell your best friend about it?" Tifa asked, spraying the counter and resisting the urge to give the cleaner less than the two minutes the bottle recommended.
"I should have known, with him..."
Tifa's jaw dropped as she processed what Cloud had said. She'd always had a bit of a hunch that Cloud wasn't the straightest of the bunch, but she'd also never expected to be hearing Cloud mention another man in his life. But she had no reason not to be supportive.
Slightly glassy blue eyes met Tifa's after she spoke.
"You didn't know?" Cloud said softly before a few loose chuckles spilled from his lips. "I mean, I knew we didn't go out of our way to tell people, but..."
Tifa found herself smiling. Something about the tone of Cloud's voice was more reassuring than frightening. He may be more than a bit inebriated, but perhaps he was more rational than she'd given him credit for.
"Cloud, you never told me you were seeing anyone."
They were both distracted just then by the door opening and the rush of cold, damp air that came with it. It was the sort of storm that wasn't going to end any time soon.
The person who'd just entered was hidden by heavy rain gear, but once that was thrown off, everything made sense to Tifa. She could pick his shape out anywhere, any time.
And it was definitely easier than trying to wrangle the information from Cloud.
With a smile, Tifa darted around the bar, her voice only wavering a bit as she spoke.
"Would you like something to drink? Or are you just here to take Cloud home?"
Drink Lemonade! Tip Your Waitress!