Disclaimer: Bam. No. :(


It was at that precise moment that a beaming Zack re-entered the room, only to find the tension had increased ten-fold, and also that the tension wasn't the only thing which had risen...

"Damn, it's gotten kinda hot in here huh? Ill just…go turn on…the…" He spoke, a little puzzled, thus he took to specifically examining Tifa, trying to gauge some sort of reaction from her, and once he saw the flash of panic in her unusually nervous eyes as she tried to look at everything but either of the men in the room, he knew something had happened…just what was it?

"Err…are you guys o-"

"Are we finished?"

He then half turned, and locked his gaze onto Cloud's ever unwavering one…and saw nothing...So, something had taken place…

"Well yeah, I just called you guys to tell you…of your new….arrangement. It's final. And Tifa, please don't give me that deer-caught-in-headlights look, you'll be fine, Cloud doesn't really bite…" In fact, he knew for a fact that Clouddid bite, but he had thought this through, he wasn't as shit of a friend as either of them thought as he knew it was for both of their benefits. Firstly Tifa, she needed this, as much as he could recall offhand from the information he had dug up on her earlier, he knew her financial status wasn't too great at the moment, with what being only 19 and yeah, she was smart and all, but with no real qualifications it all meant shit-all in this world, plus the PA slot paid well. Very well.

Next, there was Cloud. As far as everyone knew, Cloud was untouchable in his current market…and well…he was. However, being at the top meant staying at the top for both Cloud and Zack (and the rest of the minions), and the PA was an integral part of the team, Zack just couldn't handle everything on his own (Cloud only trusted him with controlling his fucked up life), therefore he knew he needed an extra pair of hands, and who better than the one girl he trusted the most in his life so far, anyway, he had always found the other girls lacking in one department or the other…and perhaps a little too distracting. So if Zack needed Tifa, Cloud needed her. (At this point he inwardly smiled smugly at himself, thinking his analytical skills were truly mind-blowing). And also, this issue of the reason why each previous PA had been sacked, well he knew wouldn't have to worry about that, Tifa was Zack's, he loved her, albeit in a purely platonic way, but still, even after all this time, it was fucking strong. And that was that. It wasn't meant to seem possessive, but Zack supposed that...deep down, possessive was all it was. Cloud wasn't that stupid anyway. Well…he better not be, because if he was, Zack had the comfort of knowing that till this very day, he was still the only one to ever really take Cloud down, green-bean eyed and all, the previous incident resulting in 3 weeks in 'hospital' and many angry calls from the boss for the model.

Yeah, Cloud definitely couldn't be that stupid.

Listening to the last part of Zack's sentence trail off Cloud frowned, perplexed. Zack knew him. All of him. So saying that I won't take advantage… (No matter how…repulsive she seemed) just seems so...so...Soon enough, without even meaning to, another unfamiliar feeling (in the same amount of days) blossomed in his chest. His body strained a little, he wasn't used to this much emotion, apart from pleasure…Anyway, this was different, it left him feeling suddenly invigorated…warm almost…

Trust…

Zack trusted him.

Him of all people, and with something he deeply cared for no less…Cloud could deduct this from spending too many hours in the confined space of their cars listening to his friend go on…and on…about this wench…sorry, girl...

He almost smiled. Almost.


Tifa waited for a while, allowing the information to slowly sink down for her too...I am going to be Cloud Strife's PA...his personal assistant...his...oh. My. GOD! Just what the hell was Zack on? She was sure that anyone who overlooked even a split second of their sketchy meetings so far could tell immediately that there was no inkling of a blossoming, or blossomed friendship. None. Nada. Zilch! He bloody well hates me, and I'm not afraid to admit that the feeling is damn mutual! And their common hatred was something she really couldn't be arsed to change, So...WHY ZACK? Wasn't he supposed to protect me? Sending me into the wild unknown with some hyper-sexual man is the furthest from 'protection' one could ever be! Great. Great move right there Zack.

Still she couldn't get over it... and to top this whole buggered situation off was the ominous feeling of a premature death by the hands of Ninja Extraordinaire herself.


Keys jangled lightly from her fingers as she swung them around in slow circles. She was fidgety, and she tried her damn hardest to disguise it, but the woman was positive that anyone could tell she was anxious from just her eyes, let alone her whole body language. If it was anything about this job that she despised, it was this, the long hours spent in confined, claustrophobic spaces, thousands of metres above the ground, where it was safe. Maybe it was the fear she despised...whatever it was it didn't matter, she just didn't feel comfortable at all. She sighed, a loud and breathy exhale. Turning in the luxurious leather of first class she gazed out of the silly excuse of a window, (she was much rather accustomed to the ceiling to floor types in high class London), and even though the sky was still predominantly dark, she knew that in less than a couple of hours, the beautiful splash of rich gold would peak from under it all. The rising sun. She was finally, coming home.


Back in Tokyo, keys were jangling but from a completely different cause. Tifa was scared shitless, and all she could bring herself to do was stare wildly at the door, and swing her keys. Just what type of painful death lay behind the threshold was screwing with her head, how the hell was she gonna react? Slapping herself with her free hand, she decided to get a hold of herself, and prepared to go in, however,

"Tifa? Slapping yourself? Really now...what's up?" It was evident in Yuffie's voice that she was a little more than confused.

This was not how the plan that Tifa had meticulously went through minutes before was meant to go! Oh SHIT! SHITSHITSHIT! What the HELL am I going to do? Taking a deep (and loud) breath she mentally, and physically, readied herself.

"Oh...you know...the usual...just ran into some interesting people...yeah...erm...yeah."

Yuffie raised an eyebrow.

"Explain."

"I couldn't possibly...ha..."

"What kind of laugh was that you psycho woman? Tell meee."

Visibly cringing from both the unhealthy situation she was in, and Yuffie's awful whining earned her a viciously dirty look, just the preview of what was to come...

"-"

Breath.

"I-ran-into-Cloud-yes-the-model-Strife-and-no-I-don't-know-how-or-why-or-just-about-anything-but-I-don't-want-you-to-kill-me-because-my-friend-''

Breath.

"Zack-has-just-got-me-a-job-with-him-for-during-the-daytime-and-well. Errr. Yeah!You-heard-me-correctly-I-officially-have-a-job-with-the-current-obsession-of-your-life...SORRY!"

And with Tifa opened the door in a flourish and ran inside, shutting it behind her.

Yuffie, shocked, stood rooted to the spot slowly deciphering the other woman's rushed sentences. Suddenly her vein popped.

"TIIIIFAAAA!"


-Tifa: Future-

I had always wanted to travel abroad, see the sights of the new world and all that, but I just never had enough money. Strangely, as the realisation of never truly fulfilling this goal occurred to me when I was still at a young age, I unconsciously started to make an effort to build acquaintances with well travelled souls (from bookstores to the local youth centre where there was no shortage of interesting people), and after a while, somewhat clung to them and their extravagant tales of dusty deserts and cool sapphire waters. I would go again and again, weekend after weekend, to the old folk's home, where I claimed I wanted to help with the bingo, but in all truthfulness I just wanted to hear the grandfathers spill their memories of the war. I was in awe of how different it all seemed to the murky smog of Tokyo. I was in awe of them. But, perhaps beneath it all I was just jealous. And to be honest looking back on it...I suppose in a way...I despised them...no, actually, I despised myself, and my own helplessness.


"HOW-"

Smack!

"COULD-"

SMACK!

"YOU NOT PHONE ME, YOU BITCH!"

Yuffie raised the pillow high above her head for the killer blow, and letting loose with a great bellow her aim proved true as the fluffy item hit Tifa square on her retreating lower back, resulting in yet another explosion of synthetic feathers.

"I'm sorry, seriously stop that now!" Tifa was panting hard at the bottom of the stairs, her friend's little...perhaps that isn't the right word...hissy fit had gone on for a good half an hour, giving the both of them a good working out of distorted hide and seek.

"Oh BULLSHIT Tifa! I knew you just wanted a piece of that too! All those times where you were disgusted with the likes of him," she made quotation marks with her fingers, adding to the effect, "were fake, wasn't it! ARGH!"

She made another move to raise the pillow, but Tifa was ready and she grabbed the other woman's arm, effectively trapping her.

"Now listen Yuffie, please, you know I'm not that stupid-"

"Whatever-"

"PLEASE!"

"Ok, make it quick, because the great evil ninja is about to escape from her demure confines."

Tifa had to try really hard to stifle her snort.

"Anyway...you have to know that I didn't just forget about you! I asked...no, pleaded with Zack for you to have the job," Yuffie's eyes lit up immediately, and Tifa sobered knowing the disappointment was to come,

"But...-"

"But? WHAT, WHY?"

"You're too young."

"Oh come on, I'm barely a year younger! Isn't that ageist or something?"

"Yuffie it's more like a year and eleven months! You're not yet 18! You should be still in school!"

"And so should you!"

"Fine I agree, but the fact of the matter is that I'm over 18, and he said that was final!" She wouldn't dare tell her that she readily agreed with Zack, and that she barely forced the suggestion that much, considering the circumstances...and the two parties involved...

"Oh fuck that! It's so unfair Tif!" She made a sad puppy dog face, which Tifa would be reluctant to admit, melted her a little.

"I know..."

Suddenly, as if struck by some unseen force, Yuffie was excited again, her eyes alive with mischief, just where the hell did she get the energy? However, Tifa knew this only meant trouble...

"Tiiffaaaa..."

"Yes..." she replied very cautiously.

"We're RICH!"

"Say what?"

"Rich! RICH! Yes! Oh my god, why didn't I think of this before?"

Huh?

The puzzled look on Tifa's face caused Yuffie to humph in displeasure.

"Oh you idiot! Can't you see what opportunity this poses for us?"

"Opportunity? Money? Well yeah the job plays well, but not that well to get so excited about it..."

"No I'm not talking about the job Tif!"

"Then?" This was all a mystery to Tifa, and then to complicate the matter further, Yuffie unexpectedly went full flow into a stupidly rushed explanation, and the only words Tifa could pull out were, pictures...website...money...wait, WHAT?

"Oh hell no Yuffie! I am not gonna stalk him and take photos of him on the toilet and shit like that!"

"Oh come on! It doesn't even have to be that, do you know how much his photos sell for? Sometimes well into the hundreds of thousands of yen! Can you believe that?"

"That's just extortionate!"

"That may well be so, but that spells heaven for us! You could take some of him on model sites and we could sell them! They would be so cool, albeit perhaps a little low res but who gives a shit? As long as we can see that fine body of his, the female population can dream in peace!"

"Don't you think that's a little OTT? And plus, don't get ahead of yourself, I haven't agreed to anything-"

"Well you will!"

"Excuse me..."

"Cut the crap, you owe me." The look in Yuffie's eyes was eerily perilous, obviously hinting at certain death by the hands of 'The Ninja'. Tifa had always been worried about the whole third person thing...

However, with that look, Tifa found herself speechless, and Yuffie knew she had won.

"And anyway...after some thought, it's probably better I didn't get the job."

Finally...she's seen sense..."Oh and why's that?"

"Cos, duuuh, he obviously would've fallen in love with me at like, a drop of a hat, considering my amazing beautiful-ness, and although that would be more than lovely, I like money...and with you, boob-woman...we won't have that problem!" And with that, she grinned, Cheshire like, and skipped off.

Tifa's jaw dropped.


-Past-

"Please...just, we can work this out, you know we can. We always do, right?"

"..."

Her breath shudders.

"Say something, anything. I'll give you anything, whatever you want, a second chance-"

His jaw clenches.

"That's not it, listen, I don't want a second chance, this isn't what this is ab-"

She holds the tears...for the love of god woman, hold them, she thinks. Don't you dare let him see you cry.

"But I don't care! I'm here, and I'll give them to you, not matter what. As many second chances as you want, just for you. Just for you Z-"

He turns away, he cannot bear to see her like this...not ever, least of all when it's because of him. He just doesn't want to risk making more mistakes, and thus hurting her even more.

"Stop."

Rejection. It's cold and haunting as it courses through her veins. She's weak, and doubts she can last much longer. So she goes ahead and pulls out all the stops, knowing this could ruin her.

"I love you."

It was her last defence. He knows it. Thus, he knows it's time. Closing his eyes he savours her heartbroken voice, knowing that he must treasure the few vestiges of her, or else risk losing her completely. But...wasn't that exactly what he was doing? He gathers his wits. It was for the best, or at least he forced himself to believe that.

"I know."

He walks off.

She waits, at first to see if he looks back, to catch his eye...or anything. He never did. Then she waits because she can't move. Hours pass, and she waits to see if he'll turn back, and run into her ever waiting arms. He never did. And as she weeps, she tries not to focus on that he didn't say it back. He never did.


A/N: GARGH! I KNOW! I'm an awful author. My humblest apologies :( And I this is sufficient enough...

And expect a long A/N in the next chap :)

xXx