The Second Incarnation Part 8

Sweet Combat

By Shelly Ichishita

"It's not like that," Tifa said to the girls. "Cloud is just a pal." Tifa was still in the bedroom answering Ellie and Nia's questions. She wished that they didn't have so many questions, she was starting to get a headache, especially when they asked about Cloud. She liked them though, and she knew that all she had to do was tell them that she liked Cloud and Ellie and Nia would back off, but somehow she couldn't say it out loud. Tifa didn't know why it was so hard for her to tell them. If she had told Aeris back then, Aeris probably would have stepped aside. Then it hit her, she realized why she hadn't told Aeris, she had wanted Cloud to be happy and it seemed like he was happier with Aeris so she didn't say anything. And if Ellie or Nia was Aeris, she wasn't about to ruin it for him. Tifa just wished she hadn't been so nasty to him earlier, the pain she had seen it his eyes made her want to reach out and hold him, but by the time she had gathered the courage to do so he had been rushing to the door. Maybe she should be selfish and tell him how she felt. Maybe she should give in to the part of her that wanted to hold him and feel his lips against hers...

She's in a trance! Yuffie couldn't believe it; Tifa was totally out of it. Ellie and Nia looked at her mystified, Yuffie decided to take action. "Hello, earth to Tifa..." Yuffie waved her hand in front of Tifa's face only to have that same arm grabbed and twisted behind her back. "Ouch, godamn it Tifa let go of my arm."

"Oh my god Yuffie, I'm so sorry." Tifa exclaimed as she released Yuffie's wrist. She shook her head to clear it and apologized once again. "I'm really sorry," she bit her lip in distress. "You're not hurt are you?"

"No, I'm not. What the hell got in to you?" Yuffie screamed, "you practically tore my arm apart like a chicken wing!" Nia held out a hand to restrain her.

"I really am sorry. I wasn't paying attention. It was just reflex." She tried desperately to explain.

"Look Tifa, I believe you. But," she hesitated. "I think you'd better leave and let me cool down."

Tifa looked down at her feet, "Okay, I'll go." She walked to the door, "I really am sorry about that."

Yuffie looked up at her. "I know."

Cloud saw her shut the door and sigh. "What was all that screaming about?" She walked towards him and sighed.

"I almost broke Yuffie's arm."

"Did she deserve it?" he asked with a chuckle.

"Of course not." She said indignantly. Cloud smiled and stepped closer to her. Tifa was puzzled. "You're not mad at me anymore?" she had to know. She had to know if she had destroyed the friendship between the two of them.

"Actually, Red and I were just discussing that," he took her hand. "The guys feel that I was a bit harsh on you and I'd like to apologize."

His hand felt cool and dry compared to hers. "There's no need to. It was my fault for saying that." It took all of her concentration not to do something foolish, like kissing his gorgeous, sexy mouth.

"Well its water under the bridge now, okay?" He smiled at her again; she looked awfully good in her sleeveless cotton camisole and silk boxers. He looked at her boxers again; the boxers were a bright blue with a yellow chocobo pattern. Cloud wondered what they would look like on the floor next to his.

Tifa looked into his eyes. She stepped back, shocked by what she had seen. She had seen that look before, just not from someone she was interested in. Perhaps now was the time to tell him that she thought one of the girls was Aeris. Tifa didn't want him to bind himself to her without realizing all of his options. He still held her hand though and she couldn't bring herself to brush him off. Before she knew it they were on the floor. "What are you doing!" she yelped as he lowered her to the ground on her stomach and straddled her waist.

"You looked a little tense. I figured that a massage would help relax you." Cloud started to move his fingers along her spine.

She was distracted for the moment by the feel of his fingers tracing her shoulder blades. "Cloud, I really don't need a massage right now."

"Yes you do." He pushed he upper body back to the floor. He found a kink and started to work it out with a thumb. "I think that your fight with Yuffie left you a little agitated. I'll just work the knots out so you can have a restful night's sleep. Remember that tomorrow's our last day in Costa del Sol."

Tifa moaned and she let herself get into it. What the hell, she thought, its just a massage. Cloud tugged her camisole up and she could feel his hands on her bare skin. It's just a massage she kept telling herself, but she felt like she was melting. His hands skimmed her ribs, barely brushing the bottoms of her breasts. She wanted something from him but she knew that she wasn't about to take it, not with Nia and Ellie in the picture. She would just have to settle for his friendship. His palms slid down her back. Good God, she thought, I'd better stop him before I lose it. She shifted to get up and her backside ran straight into Cloud. "Just relax Tifa." Was it just her imagination or was his voice slightly strained. Cloud seemed to be having trouble breathing.

"Are you alright?" She started to get up again.

"Don't!" he cried out, but it was too late. Tifa's butt rocked up against Cloud and she felt what he had been trying to hide.

He was hard. That knowledge made her feel weak and hopeful at the same time. He wanted her-bad-and she wanted him too. She tried to shake it off but the tingly feeling in her palms and the aching sensation in the pit of her stomach wouldn't go away. She felt him back away from her. "I'm sorry Tif." He stood and started for the den.

And she let him leave.


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