DON’T READ THIS UNTIL YOU READ TIFA’S ENTRY!!!!
….otherwise you might be very, very confused.
Anyway, um. Wow.
Heh, this goes to show that no couple is perfect… and that goes for Tifa and Cloud as well… (on his BIRTHDAY, no less! =O)
Tifa: Tifa wasn't sure how to contain her excitement. In fact, as she was walking back to the 7th Heaven, she found herself wearing a rather goofy grin as she practically half ran, half walked, not paying attention to anything but how she was approaching home. Thankful that she didn't run into anyone on the way, she hopped up the stairs, singing her own little tune under her breath as she dug through her pockets for her keys. She had to put the ultrasound appointment reminder in her pocket so she wouldn’t give it away to Cloud just yet, and she noticed that her hands were shaking as she tried to find the right key. Why did she have so many keys on her keychain anyway?
Finally finding the right one, she threw the door open and put her keys down on the counter. The place was quiet, but she just assumed that the kids were out again and Cloud was somewhere around, perhaps he was in the shower. She kicked off her shoes and started to walk upstairs, seeing Reno on the way up. "Hello, Reno!" She said cheerfully, picking up the cat and spinning him around in a circle. The cat was used to it knowing that Tifa greeted him that way since he was a kitten, so he just kind of gave Tifa a bored look until she hugged him, then he began purring and rubbed his head in Tifa's hair. "Where's Cloud, huh?"
The cat purred at her, so she put him down and continued walking up the stairs, seeing his shadow from outside the door. "There you are..." She whispered, running the rest of the way up the stairs, and running into their bedroom and quickly looking around for him. He was by the closet, wearing only pants and she could tell that his hair was wet. Running up to him, she threw her hands around his waist and hugged him tightly... unable to say anything, but start to babble incoherently. "Hi, I'm back... Did you listen to your voicemail? You will never believe... Cloud, where I was... I just... you... Me...." she just started to laugh and hug him tighter.
Cloud: He never really appreciated birthdays, mostly because he couldn't remember celebrating half of them with anyone. No one in SOLDIER cared, but it appeared that for some people it was a big deal to celebrate. He had hit the age of 24, so close to the quarter century that it was both good and bad. The good was that he never thought that, after Nibelheim, he would live to see such an age, let alone live it as he had. The bad was that he was starting to consider himself getting old, reaching that stage in his life where he would eventually look around and wonder what the hell he had done to waste so much time on nothing. Not nothing, though since he did have the children and Tifa along with his friends. Still, it seemed shallow.
Having stepped from the shower, he had been subjected to Reno the cat tagging along at his heels and trying to nuzzle his wet legs. He had eventually send the hairy beast out into the hallway and half shut the door in a lame attempt to keep the creature away from him so that he could actually get dressed. He dried himself off and pulled on a pair of his normal black pants before investigating the closet for a shirt of some kind. His hair clung to the back of his neck from being wet, but the soggy spikes of hair were already taking shape as they normally did.
Turning his head a little as the sudden sound of pattering feet, he ignored it until it was obvious that another presence had entered the room and dashed over to him. Obviously Tifa as only she tended to rush in to greet him in such a way, and he lifted his arms in a knowing way to welcome her arms around his waist like she always did. The hug was a bit more tight than he was used to, causing him to turn his head to regard her a little and immediately noted that she was much more bubbly than normal as well. She might have gotten some kind of gift she was proud of or something.
"Voicemail," he asked simply and looked around for where he had left his phone, finally just shaking his head. "No, I was in the shower, so I haven't checked it yet. Is something up?" While he didn't normally act weary, her behaviour was odd. He could tell she was happy and excited. "What am I not going to believe?"
Tifa: She looked around the room when he sounded confused about the voicemail and quickly said, "Oh, it's okay, I just called you on my way home and said that if you weren’t home then you wanted to be home when I got home because I had something to tell you when I got home." It was perhaps the most repetitive sentence that Tifa had ever said in her life, but her brain wasn't connecting to anything else right now except for how excited she was to tell him that they were going to parents. "I also said that I have a new present for you and it wasn't a planned present but happy birthday!" Slipping around to his front, she wrapped her arms around his neck and gave him about ten kisses on the cheek, ignoring the fact that his hair was dripping water on her arms.
Trying to calm herself down, she found she couldn't, so she giggled again and lifted her feet off the ground to wrap them around Cloud's waist. "Okay, so today is your birthday and that's a very special day. But, today I found out that it is going to be even more special even though I really can't say that this all happened today because it didn't, it happened about four weeks ago but I can't tell the exact date, but I know it was four weeks ago!" Again, she found herself rambling, so she gave him another kiss on the cheek and rested her head against his forehead.
Cloud: Nodding his head slowly, Cloud really couldn't think of a way to deal with this excited behaviour from Tifa. She was not normally a calm and sedate person like himself, but she had never been this bad before, which made him worry that she had perhaps gotten into something. Alcohol? Drugs? Coffee? All three? He gave her a look to investigate her physical appearance, not seeing red eyes or any other signs that would suggest the use of outside medias to create this behaviour. She was also rambling really badly, and it was difficult to keep up with the conversation. He wanted to blame it on lack of sleep, but... it was Tifa's fault. "You said happy birthday to me this morning when we woke up," he pointed out softly.
He was used to her arms around his neck and didn't think anything of it until he was kissed in a childishly repetitive fashion, leaning away to give her yet more scrutiny. Before he could make any assumptions, she was clinging to him completely, and his arms instinctively slipped around her hips to hold up her weight. He simply quirked an eyebrow at her in question. "Have you been smoking something that I should know about? You're acting very strangely..." What could have happened four weeks ago, anyway? Maybe a side-effect of the water he gave her?
Tifa: She could tell that she was confusing Cloud, and it could've been from a lot of things. Her overly excited behaviour was probably the one that confused him the most, for she had calmed down a little bit since they had been dating. Not much, but enough to where she looked extremely hyper and ate a whole bag of sugar in one sitting... followed by a lot of soda. "I know that I did but I wanted to say it again because you're only going to be 24 once. I'll say it to you again a few times over the course of the day, I'm sure, but I just wanted to say it again. So, happy birthday!" Leaning in, she gave him a quick kiss on the lips.
Laughing at him, she shook her head. "No, no, no drugs or anything. Drugs would be very bad for me right now. Very, very bad. Worse than usual. No drugs, no drinking, lots of rest, I shouldn't even drink caffeine..." She lowered herself from him as she dug out the ultrasound appointment from her back pocket and handed it to him. "Here. We have a date in three weeks." She started to bounce on her toes as she waited for him to read it.
Cloud: Her odd behaviour was not going away, and he was starting to worry that she was feeling sick. It was obvious that this was still *his* Tifa, and he didn't want to believe that Jenova or anyone else could infiltrate and play such a bad character and not actually be Tifa. He continued to keep his expression blank as he desperately tried to figure her out and not hurt her feelings by just thinking she went crazy on him. "Technically, I'm going to be 24 for 365 days... this is just the first day that I am. Are you feeling alright? You're acting very strange..." he said but took his kiss in stride. "Uh... thank you."
He quirked an eyebrow at her, looking down at her in his arms. She had just gone on a diet or something which didn't allow her to have drugs, drinking, or caffeine? He didn't think she needed to lose weight, but... to each their own. "You're on a diet now?" He let her go when she made it clear she wanted back on her feet, taking a step back and looking at the paper that she offered to him. He didn't look at the paper and just looked at her in mild confusion. "When have you been the type to plan so far ahead?" The fact she was bouncing sort of worried him and he looked at the paper in his hands, reading only a few details. "You have a medical problem? Why didn't you tell me?"
Tifa: "Yeah, and then you’ll be 25 and that's a quarter of a century!" She giggled at him as she hugged him again, this time lingering into the embrace for a moment, just to feel him against her for a moment. By his 25th birthday, he will be a father... and the thought made her squeal again. "I'm feeling fine! This is the best I've felt in... wow, a long time, but I know that give me a few more weeks and I won't be feeling all that great but that's okay because I know that you'll take care of me and I'm sorry if I wake you up in the middle of the night." Tilting her head toward him again, she kissed his neck. "Just know that it will all be worth it... and I apologize in advance."
Making a face at him, she nuzzled his face with her nose. "No! If anything, when I went to the doctor's today, they said I only weigh 115, so I'm going to need to put on some weight. I really think most of the weight will just happen through the course of everything, but..." She noted the confusion on his face and she shook her head. "What? No! Cloud, you missed the whole point of it!" Laughing again, she took the paper out of his hands and held it up to him, pointing to two of the words. "'Pregnancy ultrasound', see?" Looking up at him, she added, "Cloud, we're going to have a baby."
Cloud: Cloud couldn't figure out why she was so excited over him being a quarter of a century old, and he doubted that he would feel any older than he did now. With Jenova around, he might not even make to see twenty-five, not that he dared point that out to Tifa while she was in such a good mood. Maybe she had hit the sugar a little too hard? Her squealing noise rocked him back on his heels, having never heard such a high-pitched noise come out of Tifa's mouth before. He wanted to ask why her health was going to deteriorate, but his mind filled in all the possibilities and none of them made any sense. In fact, he realized that this entire conversation with Tifa made no sense, which completely threw him as he had always been able to puzzle out and interpret his friend's behaviour. This was just so out there that not even he could follow it. "..."
He opened his mouth to comment on her weight, but he decided that he would ensure living passed today by not saying anything about it at all. With her mood, she could suddenly fly into a blood-thirsty rage and throttle him.... or smother him with her hugging. He happily gave the paper back to her, staring at her before she pointed out specific words that were obviously important in some way. Pregnant? That was impossible... he was a man; men didn't get pregnant so what kind of gift was that? He stared at her like she had just said that Hojo was his father and Scarlet his mother.
Finally, after a few minutes of silence, his eyebrows knit together. "Impossible," he stated firmly. "That's not funny."
Tifa: Bouncing on her toes in excitement still, she studied the way that he was staring at her, and she wasn't sure exactly what the look meant. Was he just in shock? It only took her a second to know that he was still thinking that being a father was never going to be something he was going to go through, that the closest thing to parenthood would be what he had with Denzel and Marlene. She stopped bouncing, but that didn't ruin her good mood because she knew he would absorb it sooner or later. Hopefully sooner. With a smile on her face, she nervously exhaled and said, "Come on, Cloud, say something."
When he did, she lowered her hands down to her side in near disbelief, her voice turning much calmer. "Why would I joke about something like this, Cloud? Do you honestly think I would do that to you? You know that this is the one thing that I would never lie about... and the one thing that I would never want to get your hopes up for. However, I was three weeks late and that's why I went to the hospital this morning by myself. I went to the doctor that saved your life in January, I trust him. Cloud, I had a blood test done and he told me I was pregnant, I'm going to believe him." Looking off to the side for a moment before looking back at him, she added, "You should too."
Cloud: Despite the news that she had just informed him about, Cloud couldn't believe her about it. While he could see her excitement was genuine and that she was truly excited about this whole idea that she had stuck in her head, he knew it was impossible. It was not his part in life to play. He knew that Tifa would never come out and say something like this to hurt him as she knew it was a sensitive subject, but it was all possible that she believed so much that it was just a false thing. He had heard of those before from his mother and even some people in Edge. It was a tragedy for sure, but the alternative thought was something he didn't believe either... Tifa wouldn't cheat on him.
His jaw settled neutrally as it always did as he watched her in silence. At the mention of a test, he immediately waved his hand in the air dismissively. "Science is not always right," he pointed out. Despite saying such a thing, the fact that Tifa had gone to the doctor who had saved his life swayed him a little. That old man wouldn't lie and had seemed to genuinely care about how things went. He turned his head to the side and chewed on his lower lip as he tried to process the information for himself. He felt very confused, and it was obvious his lack of enthusiasm had killed Tifa's odd behaviour. "False alarm, possibly...? The ladies at the market sometimes say that women who really want something can show signs of it but it is false?"
Tifa: She could feel her excitement fading away and it was devastating her. Ever since she found out, going home and telling Cloud that his dreams were finally starting to come true was the only thing on her mind. Finally, something to convince him that the planet didn't damn him and didn't only think that he was born to save people's lives. That he, too, can have a normal life, a normal family... he wasn't just a science experiment. She didn't even think that he wouldn't believe her.
Anger filled her before sadness did though, so she clenched her teeth to keep the tears back. "No, Cloud. Maybe a home pregnancy test could show false results, but that's why I went straight to the hospital. I hate hospitals, you know that I do, but I sucked up my fear and I went there all by myself because I was three weeks late and I didn't want to go there with you and have the result be negative. Hell, Cloud, if the results were negative, I never would've told you that I went." She shook her head in disbelief that he didn't believe her and she looked down at the ground before whispering, "It's also well known that if people convince themselves that something will never happen, they won't allow themselves to believe the truth no matter how badly they want it. It's called 'denial,' Cloud Strife."
Cloud: He could tell the moment that she stopped being excited and then got angry. That was actually a rare thing in his own mind, since he had never really done anything personally to make Tifa angry. Certainly, he had seen her angry and even been present when they both had been angry, but it was rare indeed that it was him that fueled that emotion from her. Normally, she was too happy and excited to be around him to be angry, and the worst he managed to get was a nagging or an annoyed look when he was not pulling his weight or gone too long. But this... this was anger that he had fueled in her.
He couldn't make eye-contact with her, instead looking to the side of the room at the corner like it was the most interesting thing in the world. He understood that she didn't like hospitals, and it must have taken a lot for her to go to one for this... he couldn't deny her courage as him stepping into a hospital had always been out of the question since gaining back all of his memories. Her whispered words hit him hard though, stiffening up his bare shoulders and straightening his back up to the point of making him uncomfortable standing still. He opened his mouth to say something, but he decided against it at the last minute. He was good at denial; he freely admitted that. He had tendency to wear his negative emotions on his sleeves and keep them around for long periods of time. He didn't bother to defend himself to her words and instead passed a glance towards the door. Maybe a little time separated would allow the emotions to settle out?
Tifa: She didn't say anything for a while, she just let him think everything over in his head, wondering if he was going to change her mind. There was no way she could go the entire pregnancy without him believing her, she would start showing eventually. Even then, would he believe her? Would he think that she would cheat on him? She cheated on one man before and she swore that she would never do it again, it tore her apart inside. She was with the man she loved, the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with. It was going to be very difficult on her if he didn't start believing her soon.
"Here I am, telling you perhaps the news that you've wanted to hear your entire life, and you're going to say that it's a 'false alarm,'" she said as she raised her shoulders, her voice perhaps a little too harsh. She had no idea that he would take it this way, that she would have to convince him. "Whether or not you want to believe it, I am pregnant with your child. You are the only man that I have slept with, so it's not like I crawled on myself and got myself pregnant." Seeing where he glanced, she felt her heart break, but didn't show it. Instead, she turned her head away to look out the window again, crossed her arms and exhaled quickly through her nose. "I don't know how walking out of the room will let the information sink in. I know you. You'll go out there and just stay in your state of denial and only make yourself more upset, when there is no need. I'm pregnant, all right? What more proof do you need? Do I have to drag you back to the hospital with me to have another test? If that's what I need to do, I'll do it, but it's pointless. I took one test and I trust that doctor. He saved your life, Cloud. If that isn't enough credibility, I don't know what is."
Cloud: The wheels were turning, and she was building up to something nasty. He could tell just by looking at her out of the corner of her eye that she was not just angry anymore... she was furious. That was a state he had rarely seen no matter the circumstance, and he admitted feeling very bad for bringing such an emotion out in her. He shifted his weight from one foot then back to the other again, trying to decide what to say, if he had anything to say at all. It was clear he was on a thin edge as it was, so saying anything out of line would just add fuel to the fire... but not saying anything like he normally did might make things worse as well.
He winced a little at the tone of voice, feeling the anger full on and not moving away from it. He felt very awkward when she said that she was pregnant with his child, and it went against everything that he had believed for a very long time, months or possibly even a year now. Obviously his glance to the door had been caught by her next wording, and she spoke much too plainly in her anger, as it always had been. His eyes simply drifted to the floor as he gripped the elbow of the arm hanging by his side with his hand, somehow feeling this conversation was all too much like that after Loz had beaten on her the first time. He shifted his footing again, hearing the creak of the floorboards fill the silence as he simply stood there feeling like an idiot. "You know I won't go to a hospital..." he murmured softly. He was digging a deep hole, and he knew it. "Alright..." he finally said, reluctantly agreeing with her claim.
Tifa: She wasn't sure if she was supposed to feel bad for yelling at him, but she was just so angry and hurt that she couldn't hold it in. The tears didn't fall yet though, so she was thankful for that. The fact that she was so angry at him was enough to dig into him so she didn’t want to add on the tears as if she were looking for pity or begging for him to believe her. Once Cloud had his mind set on something, it was nearly impossible for him for change it, especially something like this. It was the worst feeling in the world and it started to make her feel physically ill.
"I know you won't, that's why I said it," she replied, punctuating the end of her sentence with a sharp sigh. She wasn't even about to tell him that she already had it planned out to give birth at home just because of their fear of hospitals, mainly his. Turning her eyes back to him, she said, "What's that in regards to? You don't sound like you believe me and don't you dare just pretend like you believe me when in the back of your head you know that it's not true. Don't do this to me. Don't do this to yourself. From the day that you told me that you wanted to have a family that night on the couch, I wanted to see you with one. Maybe it was going to be with me, maybe not, but I knew that I wanted you to fulfill this wish. Don't deny it for yourself when it's staring you right in the face."
Cloud: It felt like Tifa was trying to convince him that the sky was red and grass was black, but she seemed completely adamant about her news, which put him in an awkward position on what he should believe. With her so angry about his denials, he thought about just holding in his opinion on the subject and hope that the storm passed him by. It was just so impossible in his mind, a matter he had pushed from his mind months before. Having it brought up again felt like old scars were being opened to wounds, which further pushed him into feeling awkward.
He winced a little at her comment more than her sigh. She believed so much in this that she was even willing to threaten him into taking him to a place she knew he would never go. He held back his comment, keeping his eyes to the floor so she couldn't read them and know how much that comment had hurt. "You already know that I don't believe you… that's why we are having the conversation that we are," he pointed out softly. His agreement had been to appease her, and that probably did not make her any happier.
At her last comment, his eyes lifted from the floor until they settled on her flat stomach. He stared, looking for any signs of truth on her body, but there was nothing that would confirm or deny her claim. Still, the sliver of want twisted in his gut that not even denial could cover over, and he didn't push it down. He knew that he still wanted that, but he had convinced that the possibility was never. But… what if…? He bit his lower lip hard and turned his eyes away, refusing to give himself any sign of hope. "I'm sorry…"
Tifa: She knew that he didn't believe her, but to have him say it to her, that hurt even worse. Shaking her head, she chuckled in disbelief that this was the happiest news she ever had to tell him and he just stood there, not allowing him to admit it to himself. It tore her apart inside that he wouldn't believe her. She didn't want to take it personally because of his strong opinion on the fact that he would never be a father, but it was personal. It was their own personal baby that they created, and it just killed her for him to tell her that he didn't believe her.
"Cloud..." she began, still shaking her head. "I've lied to you once in my lifetime. It was the worst possible thing that I have ever done and I know this. To tell you that your past was..." She trailed off. She hated talking about how she lied to him about his past and Zack, and she wasn't even sure why she was bringing it up now. "It killed me the second that I lied and I still regret what I told you. It was hard to tell you the truth again, but I knew I had to do it. For you. You deserved to know the truth even though I held it from you for some reason that I don't know of. Maybe I was trying to protect you, I don't know. The day I lied, I promised myself one thing... that I would never, ever lie to you again because I never want to see you in that much pain again." Seeing him in the Lifestream, trying to discover the truth... the thought made her shiver. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry about all that happened and if you don't trust me because of that, maybe I deserve this. Maybe I deserve the way you just told me that you don't believe me."
Biting on her lower lip to stop it from quivering, she looked at the floor again. "But, like I said, whether or not you want to believe me, I'm pregnant. You have no idea how much it kills me inside for you to not believe me. The truth is hard to accept sometimes, but I swear, I'm not lying to you."
Cloud: Lifting his head a little, Cloud peered through his blonde bangs at her, the glow of his eyes showing through most of all as he stared over at her. He didn't know where she was going with the fact that she had lied to him once, but the moment she brought up his past, he stiffened and froze in his place. His shoulders bunched as his arms locked hard against his ribs, and he thought that she could have shot him in the face and done less pain. Thinking about what he had forgotten and all his misconceptions about his involvement in Nibelheim hurt considerably only because they were already on a painful topic. If they hadn't been, he would have just shrugged it by as he had mostly moved on with his own faults.
Perhaps the most painful was her statement that he didn't trust her, which he did. He shook his head a little, still remaining docile until he processed her words completely. His weight shifted to one foot as he raised the other and slammed it down on the floor with a loud noise reverberating around their bedroom. "Don't patronize me," he said slowly, feeling the words. He never fought back against Tifa when she needed to rant at him (especially about him), since he normally just stood and took it in order to let her blow off steam. "Leave the past out of this as it has nothing to do with what is going on here and now."
He turned his eyes elsewhere and finally reached up with a hand and pushed spikes of damp blonde from his forehead. "And I know you have an idea how much it hurts for you to say all that you have. You knew it, and you said it anyway." He eased his weight evenly on his feet and forced his shoulders to relax as much as possible given the situation. "I never said you were lying to me and not believing was my mistake. What I meant is that I don't believe the diagnosis..." he paused a moment before adding, "I won't make that mistake again."
Tifa: She whipped her head in his direction when he stomped his foot, half surprised of the motion and half surprised that he fought back at her. Although they have had many conversations of her basically nagging at him, that was the first time he ever spoke back. She knew that it was because of what she said and she shouldn't have said it, but she was so angry that she wasn't filtering what she was saying. "I am not patronizing you," she snapped back, clenching her hands into fists to her sides. Even though he fought back, she was still very angry and wasn't about to back down just yet. "Fine, the past'll stay out of it, I shouldn't have brought it up. I'm sorry."
Swallowing the growing lump in her throat, she turned her head back to the ground. "I know exactly how much it hurts you, again I apologize. But you have no idea how much it hurts me to come home with the best news of our lives and you to turn it all around and say you don't 'believe the diagnosis.' I'm not saying this is all about me because you know damn well that I'm not like that, but this should be the best day of our lives. We should be celebrating or something, not stay in denial. It's possible, whether or not you want to think it. We never used protection and we spent quite a lot of time in the bedroom." She calmed down her voice and unclenched her fists. "This changes our lives, Cloud. This isn't something that we can tuck in the back of our minds and it'll just go away over time. This is a baby. It's... our baby." Looking up through her bangs, she added, "What do I have to do to convince you that this is happening?"