Tifa Lockheart (beatrush18) wrote in ffvii_ac_rpg,
Tifa Lockheart

Tifa and Rufus -- Miscommunication!!!! (Part 3 of 3)

Tifa: By his reaction, she knew that she hit it right on the head, that was completely something that he would do... and definitely laugh over it. "Of course I've been paying attention. I won't lie, you're a difficult man to understand and know, but after a little while I've started to get the hang of it. You know, catch your little mannerisms and understand what they mean." With a gesture of her hand, she added, "Like the way you run your hands through your hair when you're frustrated, or pinch the bridge of your nose when you're dealing with idiots." She loved studying Rufus, it was entertaining, and she felt oddly accomplished when she understood why he did the things he did. "And of course, how you act when you truly care about someone... yet, you'd never bluntly say just how much. Like say, with your Turks."

She hoped that he wouldn't be angry with how she was digging too deeply into him, but it was definitely something that she managed to understand the most. Maybe she didn't have it perfected, but she definitely noticed it. While he came off as strictly professional and, well, perhaps the 'I'm better than you, no matter who you are' attitude, she knew he cared more than he wanted to. She specifically said the Turks though, so he didn't think that she was talking about her, although she knew that was true too. But, going down that path wasn't something that she wanted to go down with twice in the same afternoon. Not when things were starting to go well.

Again she had to raise an eyebrow at his choice of words. 'Incident?' That was a very... interesting word to describe it. "Well, I guess when you look at it, everything happens for a reason. Perhaps not the way you planned and it doesn't seem right at the time, but sometimes there are things that happen suddenly and it works out for the best." She was speaking from experience on that one. When Cloud admitted that he loved her back, she thought that it was not only sudden, but he had terrible timing, knowing they both were in relationships. But when she looked at it now, it did work out for the best. Now they were practically inseparable and starting their own family. With a small chuckle, she muttered, "Life's a funny thing."

Thinking of taking Reno on social trips made her laugh a little. "Oh, I always wondered how Reno would do around other cats. He's rather social with humans and doesn't like to be left alone for all that long, but I halfway wonder what he'd do around Dark Nation. He'd either be really scared of her since she's so big, or be really friendly and annoy her to no end." There were times when Reno annoyed her, especially when she was trying to get things done around the house or when she was with Cloud and the cat wanted attention. But she still loved her pet more than anything the world and 7th Heaven wouldn't be the same without him.

Narrowing her eyebrows a little bit, it still bothered her slightly that he was being so negative about it all. She just couldn't get the thought that he had the same negative feelings about their relationship all those months ago, and it made her feel a little uneasy. She also couldn't get the fact out of her mind that perhaps it was her fault that he was negative over him and Tseng. That Tseng would do the same thing that she did, that their relationship would end poorly as well. It was hard not to think that, but she didn't want to say anything about it. It could also just be the way that Rufus' mind had always worked, that part she wasn't sure of. With a small smile, she nodded her head. "You're enjoying it, that's all that matters. Don't fear an ending, that's all I can say to you. Even if you are enjoying it, fear will hinder you from fully enjoying it, if that makes any sense."

She was turning a little philosophical, and hoped he wasn't getting annoyed with her. "There should be a shooting range somewhere near Costa, so go there to let off some steam. Just don't go around shooting the civilians.... unless they've done something to really deserve it." Her lips turned into a smirk, and she wasn't all together quite sure just how much she was joking around.

Rufus: Rufus tried to appear as if her words did not phase him and yet... it was odd. Few people really seemed to understand, at least so much as Rufus knew. And he rather preferred it that way, the confusion. The layers upon layers he wore inwardly. It made him feel safer. Less exposed. But he couldn't let her know that the fact that she understood got to him and so he siled genially and ran his fingers through his hair only to stop in the middle of the gesture, placing his hand back on the table. Ahh. "I... don't know what to say about all that." And it was the truth. He couldn't be quiet on that matter lest she get the wrong idea and think it bothered him or something.

And well, it didn't bother him. It was just bizarre. Because it was TRUE. He did all that and more and odds are she had caught on but didn't bother. Not to mention the whole issue of him caring about people. But he wasn't going to say anything. Nor did he know how to address that. It made him feel awkward. He didn't like that.

She raised an eyebrow and once again, and he had to wonder what she was STILL pondering. It had to be interesting, but it really wasn't his place. Right. "Indeed. I still wholeheartedly agree that if that fridge didn't catch on fire it would spark and he would be dead and oh, we would have mourned." Rufus flicked his wrist for added effect, but even though he was being his sometimes overly dramatic self, it was still the truth. It could have happened! It would have been terrible. "Though, you're right. Back when I was vice president. Or even after Meteor. I would never think any of this would happen. But I guess that's the future for you. Always... changing."

"Reno'd be fine." Rufus smiled. "I mean... I would assume. She's getting along well with Midnight... They're probably around the same age and size. Are you saying you don't trust my cat, Tifa?" He raised an eyebrow questioningly. They were moving well into the realm of the surreal there, but at least it was better than shouting.

"I'm not fearing an ending by any stretch of the imagination." He wasn't some clingy dependent person, really. It wasn't like he'd never see him again. He might not ever see those pancakes with those little... things in them and the whipped cream on top but maybe. If he did something horrible like asking he could. In the future. Well after Tseng moved out. "I'm just being realistic, really. You can't fault me on that. But it is rather fun. More than enjoyable, really. You should see what Tseng can do with a rolling pin." And it really was amazing. Rufus had to wonder where Tseng learned how to cook so well. He would have to ask him sometime. If such a time would ever come up.

He perked up considerably at the mentioning of a shooting range. "Well, wouldn't you consider that work? Not relaxing? I thought you would better approve of other ways I could let off steam. But... I suppose it would be interesting. No civilians though. Although quite a few of them around there do tick me off. The drinks are good but the people? I think I could do with less of them..."

Tifa: “You don’t have to say anything.” She shrugged a little and shifted in her seat, not sure how it was that he took all that. She was right, obviously. But, how many people actually knew that about him? How many people did he allow to get that close to him?

“Yes, Tseng dying would’ve been rather tragic,” she said with a nod, completely agreeing with him. Especially if it would’ve been Rufus’ fault, she knew that he would’ve felt absolutely horrible. “So, when you think about it, you could’ve potentially saved Tseng’s life by burning down his apartment. That way, he wouldn’t have been sleeping or something when the fridge sparked.” She almost said something along the lines of it being ‘romantic,’ but someone’s apartment burning down wasn’t exactly what movies were made of. Sometimes. Agreeing with him again, she chuckled, “Heh, I’m right there with you.” Never in a million years would she imagine that Rufus and Tseng would be together in that way.

Brushing a loose strand of hair out of her eyes, she chuckled. “No, I trust your cat full heartedly, I’m just saying that Reno might get scared. At least when he was a kitten he didn’t take to new experiences and people all that well…” The memory of when Reno practically attacked Cloud came to mind. “He’s older though, almost a year old. He was born in October, I believe the breeder told me, so he might be a little more accepting to another cat.” It was hard to believe that she had him for almost a year already. How different things were when she got him… that was even before she and Rufus had started to date. The year went by quickly.

“No, I don’t fault you on any..th..ing…” Her speech slowed down considerably when she heard the rest of his sentence, suddenly fearing that she would never be able to look at a rolling pin again. Sugar cookies would never be made again, but that was a small price to pay for the thoughts going through her head. That was a hidden kink of Rufus Shinra that she never wanted to hear about. Never. Ever. Turning her head to the side, she wondered if she was going to ever look at him in the same light again. Or Tseng. Swallowing, she managed to squeak out, “no, no, that’s quite all right. I’ll… leave that for you to see and for me to use my imagination.” Enjoyable, fun, rolling pin, Rufus, Tseng… That was something nightmares were made of. She just hoped she wasn’t going to have them.

As much as Tifa hated to say it, she did anyway, “Of course there are other ways to relax. I mean, especially if you take Tseng with you.” Somehow she was able to conceal a shudder that went through her spine, but it was true… and something that she had a lot of practice with. In fact, she had been more relaxed in the past few months than she had ever been in her entire life… and perhaps that’s why Rufus seemed to be a little more relaxed as well?

Suddenly, Tifa wished her mind wasn’t so analytical.

Rufus: "I would have been sure to put together an elaborate funeral." Rufus grinned. It was an amusing concept, mostly because it had to be. He didn't need to depress himself by going back into those what-ifs again. Only when drunk. Then it was okay. Almost understandable. He said a lot of stupid things while drunk. "I would have even said some words. Whole paragraphs. I probably owe him or something. He has promised me poetry." She had to see the humor with that. Somehow the thought of a Turk -- was he even considered a Turk anymore? -- Writing poetry had to be hilarious. About as hilarious as : "One has to see the irony, however. I mean... this time the bodyguard was the one being saved. If he's even... hmm. I'm not entirely sure what his role is anymore in this type of stuff. I suppose I didn't entirely think this promotion through."

"Reno seemed all right with me. Perhaps he smelled Dark or something." Rufus shrugged a little. He knew that sometimes dogs could smell other dogs on people but he had never had a dog so the point was rather moot. Were cats remotely the same? He made it a point to look that up at a later time. "He's almost a year old? That's a... long time. How long have we been dealing with Jenova? About the same..." Rufus was quiet a moment. Hopefully before another year went by, she'd be gone. For good. Hopefully. Hopefully before anyone else died. But he had to stop thinking about that or he'd start brooding again. Cats! They were nice. "Are you throwing him a party? Reno, I mean."

"Are you sure?" Rufus frowned a little. Tifa had always seemed like the type to be interested in good food and Tseng was a surprisingly well rounded chef in his own right. She had even seemed to enjoy his cooking which was horrible by comparison. "I mean, he's very talented. Amazing with so many different tools of the trade. Tongs. Spatula." He paused thoughtfully, a smile spreading as he thought of the pancakes. Macadamia nut. Homemade. "Not to mention the whisk. That is masterful, let me tell you. Coming home from work is always a satisfying experience." He was quite lucky to have not gained any weight.

"I know there are many different relaxation techniques out there..." He looked up at the ceiling, lights buzzing overhead, and scratched the back of his head. Most of those ways to relax just seemed lame and-or annoying new age. Meditation. Hah. "I don't really have the time, though. But I suppose getting to lay around and not do much would be rather nice, I suppose."

Tifa: She really couldn’t imagine Rufus as the type to go to a funeral, yet it didn’t surprise her that he would make an exception for Tseng. They were rather close and they’ve known each other for a large portion of their lives. Raising an eyebrow, she said, “Poetry? Wow, I certainly wouldn’t mind some poetry. Maybe Cloud should take some lessons from Tseng because that’s rather romantic.” Although she really didn’t doubt Cloud’s ability to write poetry… in fact, she wasn’t sure if there was anything that he couldn’t do. She’d try to stump him some day. “Promotion?” She certainly kept her remarks to herself on that one.

“Hm, I never thought of it that way before. That could be it, but I think it’s that you have a knack for kittens.” She looked up at the ceiling for a moment before nodding. She was still convinced that Cloud simply grabbed him a little too hard and Reno freaked out on him. “Yeah, hard to believe isn’t it? Both aspects really; Reno being almost a year old and Jenova being back for almost a year. I certainly hope that she’s gone soon.” That went without saying, but she wasn’t sure just how much she could protect herself while 9 months pregnant. She was making herself a target, she was more than aware of that, and the thought scared her quite a bit. “Maybe you’re right. Maybe we shouldn’t wait for her to make the next move. Maybe we should take the offensive.”

Scrunching up her nose in amusement, she shook her head. “A party for Reno? No, I don’t think so. I didn’t even throw myself a birthday party, so I highly doubt that I would throw one for my cat.” It was just a minor detail that she was in a coma, but throwing a party for her cat would be something else.

She let out a slow chuckle, in disbelief that he was telling her about this. Why would he think that she would want to know this? Why!? Resting her chin in her hand, she nodded her head. “Rufus, I have never been more positive in anything in my life.” Then he went on. And on. And Tifa just felt her sanity flying right out of the window. She always thought that she and Cloud had an excellent sex life, but perhaps theirs was a little more vanilla than Rufus and Tseng’s, but kinks like those scared her. Especially when she felt as though she wouldn’t be able to enter her own kitchen ever again. “I’m… sure it is a work of art. But I will definitely take your word on it. No… no need to continue.” Please… she added in her head.

“There are a lot of good ones. Like knitting. I’ve heard that’s a good one, or so I’ve heard,” she said, tapping her cheek with her fingertips, trying to derive from the sex conversation as much as possible, no matter how humorous it was to think of Rufus knitting. Almost as entertaining as thinking of Jenova knitting. Almost. “All right, maybe knitting is a little ridiculous for you, so yes. Laying around sipping drinks with those umbrellas would do the trick too.”

Rufus: He snickered a little under his breath, trying not to laugh altogether too loud. That would just call too much attention back on the two of them. But something was incredibly amusing about the image of Tseng giving Cloud romance advice, and Rufus wasn't sure why. It was just funny. Sure, he'd given him advice on the subject around Valentine's day, but still... "I'm sorry... that is just an image I'll have to think about a bit longer... heh. I'm not sure if the poetry that he would write would be altogether romantic per se." He tapped the table with his index finger, thinking. "Although he probably could, I suppose. Promotion. You know. Like... to vice president and all." She must have been out of it or something.

"They really aren't that much trouble..." At least, he never thought cats were. Sure people complained about them being aloof or antisocial at times, but it was just a complexity he quite enjoyed. Not too needy. Dark especially who had fended for herself on certain occasions. "Indeed. It seems like only yesterday that I had what appeared to be a mere child blowing people up in my building..." He could feel himself tense up at the memory... watching the Turks taken down so easily. Being shocked to silence by her power... His bullets proving useless and the pain of whatever it was she did to them -- not even at her full strength. It would have been a sobering thought had he been drunk. How would it ever be possible to go on the offensive, he wondered, his mouth suddenly dry. Was this a battle they could feasibly win? Not that waiting for her to appear at random and blow them away was any better. He blinked and looked back at her. "Perhaps... What does Cloud think about that?"

"Oh, and I don't think it's too 'normal' for a person to throw themself a birthday party. Even I know that." He raised an eyebrow for added effect. And people said that he wasn't used to most of the everyday customs of society. That was just... too much.

Perhaps she was jealous? Envious? There was really no explanation for how Tifa was taking this idle talk. It was strange. Almost out of character for her, really. Perhaps she was a very good cook. Rufus wouldn't know. She had mentioned that she was good. He liked her cookies and her drinks. That counted for something. But if she even wanted to be in the running she would have had to have made him something. Also that still didn't make any sense, but neither did her behavior. "Don't worry. I'm sure you're good. But, I suppose we don't have to talk about this any more if you don't want to." And really it was a pity. Almost a tragedy. The world had no clue what it was missing out on.

"I... yeah. Knitting is beyond ridiculous for me... And I don't think anyone wants to see me attempting to knit." He twisted his face a little in disgust, almost as if he had swallowed a bug. As if he would ever have the patience to sit around making scarves. "I think I'll stick with what I know... drinks with umbrellas as well. I quite like those. Very snazzy."

Tifa: “Oh come on, I’m sure Tseng has a few romantic bones in his body. I’m pretty sure that Cloud would be able to write poetry if he wanted to, so maybe Tseng can take lessons for him. They did bond at Elena’s,” she said, looking down at the empty glass in front of her that once contained her mocha. She bit her lip and really wished that she didn’t drink the whole thing because of the baby. “I don’t doubt Tseng’s poetry skills though, so maybe he should just try. Oh, yes, that promotion. I’m sure between work and him living with you, you’re rarely apart. That has to be a good thing, right?”

She nodded with a small ‘hmm.’ It seemed like yesterday when Cloud was tortured, and it was hard to think that was all the way back in January. Things would perhaps be easier when Jenova was gone, but Tifa knew that eventually somewhere down the line someone…. Or something would get bored and cause mass chaos and destruction. “You mean, when we’ve talked about taking on Jenova lately?” She shook her head and exhaled through her nose. “No, it hasn’t come up in conversation since he brought that healing water to me. Even then, the topic didn’t last very long.” Much remain unsaid with that, but she felt that, although Rufus seemed comfortable with sexual detail, Tifa didn’t want to elaborate.

“Perhaps I am, but Cloud’s the only one who would be able to confirm that, but I wouldn’t go asking him about it if I were you. I think it would be a little more than awkward for you to ask him about my performance in certain rooms of the house.” Not like she could just pin it down to the bedroom, but it was still awkward to think about. She really didn’t want Rufus to know all about her sex life, yet he was being oddly open about his. Somehow, the topic of Jenova seemed less scarring than this.

“You know, I kind of wanted to learn how to knit, but I have a feeling that I wouldn’t be all that good with it. Using both needles and stuff. I’m good with my hands, but knitting is another art in itself. My mom used to crochet, but I have a feeling that I would get so frustrated that I would throw the knitting needles into the wall.” She chuckled at herself, but that was why she didn’t pick up the hobby. That and she assumed that Reno would be way too interested in the yarn and want to play. And the feeling of turning extremely domesticated. “I love those little umbrellas. They give a drink so much personality.”

Rufus: "Perhaps." He shrugged a little. His friend could probably be romantic, for all Rufus knew. They never really talked about their love lives all that much, feeling more comfortable with silent camaraderie and commiseration. It was just the way they worked with -- or rather around those pesky feelings. "Hasn't really come up, but he has quite a few secret talents that seem apt to pop out at random. Not necessarily a bad thing. Yeah, I do see him quite a bit... for a while it was a little strange but I suppose now it's slipped into normality. Routine." There was little other way he could describe it. It all just seemed to flow effortlessly into everyday life. With the occasional 'fights.'

"Ah." Rufus somehow managed to keep the disappointment out of his voice. In all honesty, he hadn't been entirely thinking all that much about Jenova either, what with work and burning down buildings and so on. "Perhaps we should all see about that. Discuss a course of action. Put everything on the table, so to speak." It would most likely force everyone to consider the reality of their situation once again. Things had gotten messy. People busy and scattered. He hoped that no one forgot about their situation. Jenova's absence was foreboding to say the least and not something to take lightly. At all.

He raised both eyebrows at that statement. How very odd. Perhaps cooking was, to her, something incredibly personal and sacred? Something to be shared with someone like... Cloud? Tifa never seemed the sort but then again... she was surprising at times. "Alright." He raised his hands a little in mock surrender. "I wouldn't want to pry or anything. I believe you." That and he was curious but... not necessarily enough to randomly ask Strife about her skills. It wasn't that pressing of an issue. Especially with more important matters at hand.

"I'm not entirely that artsy... Wouldn't mind learning origami or something but I seem to be horrible at it. Not enough patience by any stretch of the imagination for any of that." He made a face, flattening the napkin on the table and wondering how anyone could turn paper into cranes. they always ended up looking like mutants. "Never mind needles. Those would be so embedded in the wall I doubt anyone would be able to remove them. Perhaps I'd be able to hang pictures from them or something." Or maybe not. Rufus had never been good with throwing knives. That was Alex's talent. And before he knew it he was thinking of Alex knitting and trying not to laugh like an idiot. "Heh... Indeed. Paper umbrellas do... I quite enjoy hoarding them. Let other people get stuck with the pink ones." He smiled a little, slightly devious. Not that that was something he tried to do at times.

Tifa:Taking his short reply as an agreement, she smirked. “Ah ha, there we go. You’re just trying to be modest, but no need to be. There’s nothing wrong with Tseng being romantic, but if you just want to pretend he’s not, I’ll pretend like I can’t read through your noncommittal replies and body language.” She didn’t see what the big deal was. She was quite happy that Cloud was romantic. The flowers, dinners, dancing in the rain… she loved it all. Plus, he made up for her lacking romance skills. “It’s a good routine to have. Cloud and I have kind of gotten into a routine as well, now that things have calmed down without Jenova cells and everything.”

Shrugging, she agreed, yet didn’t agree. She wanted Jenova gone, but having to take the offensive meant that it was something she couldn’t participate in. Jenova could sense life and the second she sensed life in Tifa – life that she and Cloud created – Jenova would make her life a living hell. Or the baby’s. Or… everyone’s. So that would mean Cloud going off and, even though he was more than strong enough to take care of himself, it still worried her. Hopefully part of the worry was from the extra hormones for the mere thought of it made her feel like crying, and that made her blink a few times. That was… new. Damn hormones. “Perhaps. It’s really up to you and Cloud though. You’re in charge.”

She had to chuckle at the whole scarring factor of this conversation, but at least he respected her privacy about not asking and prying. That would’ve been… odd to talk about her sex life with her ex boyfriend. It was even more odd that Rufus was that open about it all. He had always been so reserved about things, his feelings particularly, yet he was able to talk about this? Something seemed so wrong about it all, and she couldn’t put her finger on it. He couldn’t have been trying to make her jealous, right? She was happy with Cloud, carrying Cloud’s child… she wouldn’t get jealous. At least Rufus seemed to be happy with Tseng, so she was going to support it. It still concerned her that he looked … curious about something. Her sex life with Cloud? Odd. That was all she could think of to describe that.

“Ha, I can definitely see you turning random paperwork into little cranes or something,” she said, leaning back in her seat a little bit. That would be amusing to see as well, but not as humorous as him knitting. Rufus becoming domesticated… that was funny to think about. Maybe if Tseng gave him a few cooking tips…but that involved them both being in the kitchen at the same time and Tifa’s mind suddenly started to think of rolling pins. Holding in a shudder, she smiled. “I like the blue ones, myself.”

With a small yawn, she stretched then looked at her cell phone that was sitting on the table in front of her. “Oh my god, it’s nearly five,” she said, scooting back in her chair, causing it to scrape a little. Everyone in the café faced her, expecting the reason for scraping being the same when Rufus moved his chair back. At least they had stopped yelling. Blushing a little, she looked at Rufus and stood up. “I should get home and … make dinner.” Blinking, she hid back another shudder and added, “I think it’ll be a pizza night.” Having to cook at the moment did not sound like fun. Being in the kitchen at all made everything worse. Going to the phone and dialing a number sounded like an excellent plan that didn’t involve scary visions of Tseng and Rufus with kitchen utensils.

Rufus: "I'm... I'm not being modest." He was aghast at the notion. "Just that, I'm sure with the proper coaching I could just as so called roma--" And then he stopped in mid sentence. Sometimes little things could get blown out of proportion and why would he ever want to compete on this level? All attempts at previous wooing ended... well... not so well. They could all have their romanticism. He would sit back and watch them make fools of themselves. Maybe slip a piece of candy all stealthy like when they weren't looking. "Well, that's good for you two..." What kind of routine was she talking about anyway? "...any routine that doesn't involve Jenova can't be bad."

"Heh... well, I suppose I am the president and all. Just... probably should get a second opinion on it all." Especially someone who had faced her before and didn't fall flat on is ass in mere seconds. Oh, he had a bone to pick with that alien. Several in fact. He should have composed a list of grievances. That would have fueled him into moving faster on this agenda. Looking up to humorously point that out, though Rufus was struck cold and still. Something in Tifa's eyes... some emotion he had seen before and didn't want to see because he was crap with these things. Had been months earlier. Maybe if he looked away a little, he'd feel less uncomfortable. She was not going to cry. Not here, damnit.

Stupid women. Stupid people and their emotions.

"I'm sure..." He cleared his throat. "He wouldn't be going off on his own, I'm sure. I mean... I have quite a few choice words to say to ole Jenova as well. I'd make sure he came back alive." The smug smile he shot her way was weak at best. Hah. As if Rufus could keep him alive. But, he'd have to try. At least try to hold his own. Something.

"It would be too much trouble than its worth. Paper airplanes I can make, however. Those are simple" And he could, surprisingly enough. Perhaps because there was so little folding in comparison to making those finicky little cranes. They also made rather nice impromptu weapons. And by weapons, Rufus' mind just meant... something pointy that could sail through the air and poke his victim. But that was never Rufus doing that. Clearly. He was the president, after all. "I think I prefer the blue ones as well. They rarely make them in white. Although I do enjoy hoarding the green ones as well. Yellow and pink are far too bright for my tastes..."

He hadn't realized they'd been there at the cafe so long. Somehow between arguing and... getting along, hours had gone by. It was more than a little surprising. "I suppose we got a little carried away here. I hope you don't have any plans..." He himself probably had... well, nothing altogether important to be done that night. Insofar as he knew. Dinner. Maybe something on television. Put the paperwork on hold a bit. "Pizza, hmm? I hear that's not too hard to make. Just rolling out the dough. A lot of arduous repetitive motions." He reached into his pocket, pulled out his wallet and then a small stack of gil-notes... not bothering to count them before discarding them on the table. "Perhaps that's why I don't cook." He glanced at the money. "That's probably more than enough..."

Tifa: Now that was something that Tifa wasn’t sure how to approach. He said enough of the word ‘romantic’ for her to see where he was going with it, but was that something that she needed to talk about? She thought he was romantic, even if they didn’t date very long. Especially with Valentine’s Day, how he brought her flowers and cooked for her. She considered that to be romantic… but things were so much different now. It took her a moment to compose what to say, but all she was able to come up with was, “Nah, I don’t think you need to worry about it. You’ve got it covered.” She noticed something in his voice about the routine. Was it confusion? “Thank you. I couldn’t agree more.” Of course, she halfway wondered if not dealing with Jenova, not even thinking about her, if that was careless on their behalf.

“Well, yes, you are, but I meant that both you and Cloud are in charge of this operation. I think it should be a decision that you and Cloud come up with together.” Nodding her head, she let out a lengthy sigh, not wanting to think of Cloud rushing off to kill Jenova on a whim. “I sure hope that he wouldn’t do anything that rash.” No, he had too much to live for, especially with the baby on its way. “I want it all to be planned before we make a move. We all need to be together on this so we don’t make any… deadly mistakes, because, unfortunately, something like that can’t be reversed.” She sighed again and tapped her nails on the table. “I’ll have to bring it up with Cloud and see what he says about the whole thing. Like I mentioned earlier, it’s a topic that we haven’t talked about in a very long time.”

“You know, I’ve never been taught how to make them correctly, so mine always look funny and never fly.” It was true. In fact, Marlene and Denzel were able to make better paper airplanes than she could, although it had been a while since she was hit in the back of the head with one. She had to chuckle. Of course Rufus would want white paper umbrellas. She wouldn’t expect anything else from him. “I’m sure you could write a letter to the paper umbrella manufacturing company and request more white ones.” Part of her wondered if he would follow through with that.

She fixed the hem of her shirt and pulled it down a little, then shook her head. “No, I don’t have any plans, don’t worry. Just making dinner and that’s about it.” She was surprised that they stayed there as long as they did, but it was nice to have a chat. Even if it involved them being angry with each other at first and then too much information shared for the rest of it, it was the first time that they had a one on one since they did break up all those months ago. It could’ve gone worse, Tifa figured. Maybe. Clearing her throat softly at the mentioning of ‘rolling’ and ‘repetitive motions,’ she said, “oooh, I think I’ll just have one delivered. Less work for me to do.” Her lips turned into a smile and she nodded her head. “Once again, thank you. Next time I’ll pay… and I promise I won’t have news like this to tell you.” She stood there awkwardly, not exactly sure what the proper goodbye would be. A… hug? Handshake? Nothing at all? She decided that she would see what he would do.

Rufus: Tifa seemed to be mulling over something with those words and Rufus couldn't help but mentally admonish himself for... whatever that was. He wasn't even sure what he was getting at. Was he getting defensive? Idiot... And now things were awkward or more awkward or whatever they had become. A lot of things had been setting her off that day as a whole. Thankfully, she dismissed whatever she must have been thinking of -- and maybe it was nothing for all he knew. "Ah. Thanks," was all he could mutter at that, nodding a little at her agreeing on the Jenova issue. The sooner they could be rid of him the sooner he would sleep better at night. Or at least a little better.

"I know." He brushed back his hair again, breathing out through his nose, not entirely out of frustration, yet still. Maybe a little. He grimaced. "I think we can all remember the last time I attempted a full-scale war-like endeavor. No... I'm of course going to want to discuss this with Cloud." Cloud who of course wouldn't be rushing off like a fool, apparently. Not anymore, at least. Unless... well... unless Tifa was on the line, most likely... as proven by the last time he had rushed off to nearly die for someone. Rufus wondered how he would react in such a situation. But the point wasn't to get himself into such a situation, wasn't it? "Exactly. I... We don't need anyone throwing their lives away here. Everyone should be able to enjoy life once she's off this planet. I'll have to do some thinking on my end as well."

"They aren't all that tough." He smiled a little, crunching up the napkin and plopping it into the previously discarded cup. "Just keep practicing. When you aren't attempting to knit, after all. I would write in to request some, but what's the fun of that?" Further, that would perhaps look a bit odd. Something else to be in the papers. President's Fondness For White Hits an All-Time High.

"Ah, well. Making a pizza would probably get a bit messy as well..." he said under his breath, thinking about the sauce. The flour. Toppings getting everywhere. This was most definitely why he didn't bother cooking. "Less work to make it and less work cleaning up as well. There's a good place on Silence Street, I hear." He shoved his hands into his pockets, looking out the window again. He felt slightly less trapped here with her than before. Perhaps with time this would all get less odd, less emotionally tiring. "Yes, it would be rather good to not have... news... like this. But you know I probably won't let you pay for me." He took a step forward, her awkwardness mirrored with his own. Before it was a kiss and a hug. Last time he had seen her they just parted. She left and he was drunk and now... what was the etiquette for this? The proper protocol for it? He wasn't even sure how he wanted to say goodbye, settling for patting her shoulder in a friendly manner. Still, he hesitated a little, unsure. Was that odd?


He nodded anyway, hand still on her shoulder, pretending it was nothing bizarre and his insides weren't feeling all weird. "You take care of yourself, understood?"

Tifa: That was a rather touchy subject that made her a little confused to why Rufus brought it up. It was the truth, but it was something that he, no doubt, didn’t want to talk about… ever. It just made her realize how thankful she was that they were all now allies and fighting for the same things. “Yeah, just… whenever you want to pull the assault, let us know.” Now she kind of regretting bringing up taking the fight to Jenova, for it didn’t make her feel all that comfortable. It had been too long since they had last dealt with her or any of her children, they’ve been too quiet… who knows what they had been doing. Probably getting stronger, and now they didn’t know what they were dealing with. She just didn’t want to find out the hard way and wait too long though. Waiting was tedious and something she didn’t really want to do.

“The fun would be seeing how the media would get a hold of it.” She didn’t need to tell him that, but it was pretty much inevitable. The thought of the headlines saying something about his obsession with the color white made her laugh. “The media will post up just about anything that they can get their hands on… but I have a feeling that your Turks would have more fun with that. The articles would be plastered all over Shinra Headquarters.” The thought amused her.

“Oh yes. I used to make them with my parents when I was younger, but I seriously think there were more ingredients on the counter than on the pizza itself.” The thought made her reminisce a little bit, that had been so long ago. The past was the past, all she could do was hold the memories tightly and keep moving forward. “I really don’t want to have to pick up the mess, so I think that having it delivered would be an excellent choice.”

Understanding where he was going with his statement, she shrugged her shoulders. “I know, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to just drop the bomb on you like this, but I wanted you to know from me.” It would only be a matter of time before the oh-so-wonderful media found out about it, as well as her stomach starting to be more noticeable. Playfully rolling her eyes about how he wouldn’t let her pay, she said, “Yes, but you know me. I’m incredibly stubborn.”

She smiled with a nod, letting out a small ‘hmm’ sound in understanding. Looking at him for a moment, she decided to take a chance and wrapped her arms around his waist, giving him a gentle squeeze. It was a little awkward, but it still kept the smile on her face. “You too, Rufus.”

Rufus: "Right." He nodded solemnly. Sure. Whenever he wanted to direct an assault? Riiight. Last he heard the Turks hadn't even been training, what with the summer weather. The fact that he, the president had been doing more training, so far as he knew, couldn't be a good sign. Not to mention the fact that last he heard, Jenova was still in her adult form with all sorts of added abilities. Should they wait and see or attack the moment they knew where? It was hard for him to say and perhaps a bit more pressure on him.

Not that he wasn't used to these kind of tough decisions. Just... This was kind of a big one.

"They haven't had much on me. They would be all over that." Which was true. He had been very careful since Meteor, not wanting the attention. Too caught up in not dying and piecing together the country. So many efforts done under the shroud of silence, behind made up names. Being a secret benefactor. Perhaps they were getting lax on the issue. "They would have far too much fun with that. Far, far too much fun. I have a reputation to uphold."

Crossing his arms in front of his chest, it wasn't easy to keep himself from smiling a bit at Tifa's mentioning of her childhood. He remembered talking about this before... months before. A strange pang of... something hitting him. It must have been nice. A mess, sure, but nice. Hadn't she said she was a little terror? At her age then, he had probably been schooled in business or something. Public relations. He had no clue. It was all sort of a blur, and so he sat back and listened to her trail off.

"No. I understand. It's... appreciated. Really." And truly in retrospect it was far better for him to hear now rather than on some news show or randomly seeing her looking all large and pregnant. He would have felt like such a fool, finding out months later, being surprised like that. Smirking at her next statement, he made a vague nod toward the back of the cafe. "You may be stubborn, but I have a way with waitresses. Waiters. Anyone really." He recalled the first time they went out. When the waiter had literally jumped into action once he himself had ordered a table on Tifa's behalf.

He hadn't expected her to wrap her arms around him, but then again... that was Tifa. Still, he could feel his entire body stiffen from her touch. It had been, what? Six months since anyone had done anything like that. Out of force -- trying to not seem entirely socially and emotionally constipated, he returned the hug in a wooden gesture. "I mean it. Take care of yourself. Your...selves." He blinked a little. How else could he say that? But the entire sentiment was still strange to him and this whole exes as friends thing was just bizarre and her hair still smelled the same, that scent of shampoo and whatever else it was that was distinctly Tifa and...

He pulled away as naturally as possible, scratching the back of his head nervously and staring at the ground. Floor. Tile. Whatever. He cleared his throat a little, daring to look back at her. "I'm sure we'll meet again. Discuss... business. You know."

Tifa: “Okay,” she said softly, assuming that he did mean it. She couldn’t imagine his reaction if he found out in a different way. It wouldn’t have been pretty. Thinking of when he took her out in Costa all that time ago, she definitely knew what he meant. “That is very true, but I’m stronger than you.” It was an empty threat for she would never physically hurt him. It didn’t change the fact that she could though.

She felt him tense up from the hug, but she really didn’t think anything of it. He was probably just surprised, that’s all. It wasn’t like she gave him a warning or anything. …But it was a little odd. It had been quite a while since they had any physical contact, but it was only a friendly hug. That’s what she hoped that they were anyway. Maybe not perfect friends, but they were on their way to being friends. …She hoped. She just didn’t want to think too optimistically about it, but she didn’t want to be pessimistic either. They could work through it all.

It was still a little odd though.

Chuckling at the word usage, she nodded. “Don’t worry, I will, I promise. Both of us in here.” She appreciated his concern, but knew it was strange for him to say. It was strange to hear. She looked up at him as he pulled away and scratched the back of his head. Another Rufus mannerism that she had learned to understand; nervousness. Proof that he, too, found it all a little too strange just yet. She let out a small sigh and nodded. “Of course. I’m only a phone call away.”

Tucking a tendril of hair out of her face and behind her ear as they walked out of the coffee shop and stood outside the doorway for a moment. She placed her hand on his arm and said, “I really have to get going, so I’ll see you soon. Bye, Rufus.” With that, she smiled, turned around, and started to walk back toward 7th Heaven.
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