Three ways Tifa and Aeris could have met. Aeris/Tifa.
When only one attacker was left standing, Tifa was already exhausted, gratefully allowing the brown-haired girl who had appeared to her rescue to land the final blow. She had known that going down to slums would be dangerous, and that she would be weakened after spending so many months in a hospital, but losing the upper hand so quickly had been a nasty surprise. Yet even as her heart thumped with fear, there was also another feeling, stronger one that was quickly leaving her overwhelmed.
Not even discovering that she had survived Sephiroth had made her feel this alive.
"How are you?"
Concerned tone in a soft voice drew Tifa gently back to reality as she turned to meet the other girls' green eyes. She was surprised to see how delicate the girl actually was, her fingers long and thin as she stretched a hand out for Tifa. Her grip, however, was firm and strong as their fingers wrapped together, and she carried her long staff with experience and ease.
"Can't say that I would feel particularly welcome here," Tifa mumbled, casting a worried glance to the collapsed young men they had just taken down together. The other girl's mouth quirked with amusement, her hand settling on Tifa's arm as they left the alleyway behind.
"It's hardly safe to visit the slums," the girl said conversationally, her hold on Tifa's arm loosening and finally easing completely off. Gooseflesh rose to the absence of the touch, and Tifa found herself missing the warmth of the girl's hand. The girl glanced at her, her large green eyes serious and dark. "And I can tell that you haven't been here for long. Why did you come down?"
The girl's tone was mild, but Tifa sensed scolding in those words, her cheeks burning with a blush. She knew what she looked like in the other girl's eyes, dressed in clothes that fit well and had never passed from one user to another, well-fed and clean. The men who had ambushed her were rather scruffy in shape and while this girl was healthy, she was thin and pale as well. The girl's expression softened at her embarrassment, and she muttered:
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to sound so disapproving."
"No, it's fine." Tifa smiled, vaguely relieved when the girl did the same. She was the first person Tifa had met who seemed to have any interest in who she was. Her only other real interaction had been with a motel owner and his concern for her had ended the moment she had paid for her room. Tifa continued:
"I've been here only for a couple of days. I was supposed to stay with.. um, an acquaintance, but he never showed up, so I stayed at a motel." She considered her own words for a moment, chuckling softly. "I guess that taking a look at my surroundings wasn't exactly a great idea."
The girl shook her head and said: "Not necessarily. Going alone was the bad part of the plan." Her green eyes twinkled playfully when she looked at Tifa, who laughed out. "But seriously, there are many people out there who would happily give you a tour for few gils. Some of them just need to reminded that they need to give the tour before leaving with the money."
"I just wanted to feel like I could stand on my own."
It was a childish thing to say, of course, but there was compassion in the girl's warm, green gaze when they looked at each other. She was such an odd sight in the slums, Tifa realized, serene and hopeful even with the misery around her. Tifa wondered if Midgar was all this girl had ever known of the world, or if some greater force was necessary to keep that compassion alive.
The train rolled to the station, startling them both. Tifa hadn't realized that they had made it this far already. Even with her recent brush of danger, she didn't feel like returning to the motel yet, and she was happy to notice that the girl didn't seem to be eager to leave her company, either.
"I don't think I caught your name," Tifa whispered.
"Aeris," the girl said immediately. "And you?"
They both were a little at loss after that, looking at the ground instead of each other. Aeris spoke up first, odd hesitance in her voice:
"You know, there's a restaurant called Seventh Heaven nearby. I think a little fight makes anybody hungry."
Tifa giggled. "My thoughts exactly."
Aeris grinned and grabbed her by the hand, leading way to Sector 7. Tifa squeezed the other girl's slender fingers, grateful for some human contact. Maybe Zangan had been right after all to send her down to the slums. She had doubted from the beginning that there was never any 'friend' waiting for her in the slums, that the only way Zangan could ever help her was to push her up to her own feet. She was fearless when she left the Upper Plate, and it had shocked her to discover how unfounded her confidence truly was.
For once it felt good to be proved wrong.
Like everything else in Sector 7, Seventh Heaven too looked modest on the outside, and inside was no different. Atmosphere, however, was cozy and welcoming. Tifa glanced at Aeris and wasn't surprised to notice that the other girl looked like she had just arrived home.
"Do you work here?" she asked Aeris, who was busy scouting the restaurant with her eyes.
"Not directly," Aeris replied, eyes brightening as she spotted someone sitting by the counter and lifted her hand in a greeting. A large black man waved back at her, and Tifa gasped when she realized that instead of another arm, he had a gun crafted to his flesh. Aeris spoke on cheerfully: "This is sort of a home base for a group I work for. Nobody knows us yet, but we call ourselves the AVALANCHE."
II: I Think I May Fancy You
"So," Aeris remarked, reaching out to brush dirt off the SOLDIER's slim shoulder. "Isn't it hard to get into SOLDIER?"
Tifa Lockhart smiled confidently, still priding her previous occupation. Aeris was mesmerized by the way the green glitter of Mako contrasted with the rich, wine-brown colour of the other woman's eyes. There was always something cold and inhuman about Mako-glow, but while the glow in Tifa's eyes was still unnatural, there was also something warm and lively about it. Maybe it was Tifa's own glow that made the difference.
"It's a tough process," Tifa replied, shifting her position slightly on the flower bed, careful not to crunch any more flowers. Aeris was surprised that she could move so easily in the first place, after all, crashing through a roof HAD to feel somewhere. "Only few have been able to go through it with both body and mind intact. I wasn't the first woman in First Class, but not many made it that far after me."
"I guess they were really unlucky to lose you, then," Aeris noted, grinning as Tifa tried to wave her words off, even with the obvious pleasure on her face. Eager to keep the conversation going, Aeris asked: "So, what are you doing now? I see that you're still wearing your uniform."
Which was a shame, actually. Aeris had tried to convince herself not to look too hard - since when did I like girls? - but she couldn't help but notice that there was a very attractive figure beneath that shapeless, navy blue clothing, full curves visible under the thin fabric. Aeris wondered how long it would take until her cheeks were completely red, unless Tifa was just too polite to point it out.
Whatever was the case, Tifa decided to make it worse by answering: "Oh, I do everything. Just pay me and I'm yours." With that she gave Aeris a wink, who no longer wondered whether it was a blush on her face or not.
Now she wondered whether she was blushing because of embarrassment or something entirely else.
She was about to say something when Tifa suddenly tensed, snapping her head around to stare at the church entrance. Aeris felt her stomach knot with nervousness as she noticed a man in familiar blue uniform standing at the doorway, accompanied by three Shinra-troopers.
"Oh no," she sighed. Tifa was frowning when she turned to Aeris, fingers stroking over the hilt of her sword as she slowly got up to her feet.
"Do you know those people?" the SOLDIER whispered, her voice calm and even, but not without a hint of concern. Aeris was grateful for that as she stood up as well, inching as close to Tifa as she dared.
"In a way," Aeris mumbled grimly. The Turk hadn't moved further from the entrance, patiently waiting for them to do the first move. As if he afforded to toy around with the two of them. Or just with her, she didn't even know if Tifa was planning to stick around.
The mere thought that Tifa would just leave.. why did that make her feel so awful? She looked at the Turk and his men again, her eyes drawing to their weapons over and over again. This wasn't the first time she had been chased down, but those times had included her having a better lead..
An idea came to her quickly and made an exit just as quick from her mouth as she turned to Tifa:
"Didn't you say that you do anything?"
Tifa raised an eyebrow curiously. "You sure know how to pick a perfect moment for offering a job," she noted in an amused tone, although that amusement didn't reach her eyes. Aeris could see why as the Turk started to tap his weapon against his thigh, his face still calm, but running out of patience.
"No, I think this is exactly the perfect moment," Aeris replied, smiling up at Tifa. "How would you like to be my bodyguard?"
Spark of interest in the glowing dark eyes was definitely a good sign, but apparently Tifa also had an appearance to keep up. "It will cost you," she said mildly, but even then she stepped protectively in front of Aeris, shielding her from the Turk's calm gaze.
"A date, maybe?" Aeris offered hopefully.
She nearly regretted her words when Tifa didn't respond immediately, grasping the hilt of her sword as the troopers accompanying the Turk lifted their rifles. But when she finally turned to look at Aeris, she was smiling brightly.
"This isn't how I wanted to ask you out, but I guess it will do." Tifa smirked at her widening eyes and took a step toward the Turk, dipping down with her other hand to stroke her fingertips over Aeris's wrist.
III: Meet Don Gainsborough
Nobody had bothered to inform Tifa that she would have to face a Goddess.
Well, maybe not a Goddess. And most definitely not an angel, either, even if her appearance hinted somewhat other-worldly beauty. The woman sitting behind the wide desk was very pretty, dressed in a red silk gown that clung tantalizingly close to her soft curves, long brown hair curling all the way down to her small waist. The green eyes watching her might have been friendly, but Tifa didn't afford to forget that this was the most dangerous woman of Sector 6 she was dealing with. Tifa had no doubt that if she gave up on her act too soon, she would have to deal with the most horrible punishment imaginable.
And yet she had such hard time imagining this woman harming anyone. Perhaps this is why Don Gainsborough rarely made public appearances, and often sought to hide the fact that she even was a woman, knowing that people would have trouble taking an innocent face like that seriously.
Gainsborough had been smiling with appreciation the moment Tifa had stepped into her office and she wore that smile still as she turned to her guards:
"I think we'll be fine by ourselves. I believe you have well-deserved reward to enjoy..?"
Lewd smirks that rose on both men's faces left nothing to ponderings as they left the room, leaving Tifa alone with Gainsborough.
Even as her mind demanded her to stick with the act, Tifa couldn't help but ask:
"Doesn't that bother you? To let your men play with the girls who came to see you?"
Gainsborough blinked, her delicate mouth parting with surprise. Tifa noticed with shame that even with the moral righteousness she had felt just seconds earlier, she couldn't now help but notice the moisture of that mouth, wondering with a shiver if she were to explore ir with her own that night.
"Well let me ensure you that no PLAYING takes place if it requires force," Gainsborough said firmly. She hesitated a moment, adding finally in meeker tone: "It took few unfortunate incidents until we learned that, though.."
Tifa didn't get a chance to dwell deeper into the meaning of that statement as Gainsborough rose gracefully to her feet, approaching Tifa with long, confident strides. Foreign heat ran through Tifa's body as she followed the gentle swing of Gainsborough's hips, intensifying as she caught the mild, flowery scent of Gainsborough's perfume.
Maybe she should have believed Barret when he suggested that they should just break into the Don's mansion.
"I don't think either of us planned to discuss morals tonight," Gainsborough purred, curling eagerly against Tifa's side. "Shall we?"
Tifa had a nagging feeling that she shouldn't have followed Gainsborough in the bedroom so eagerly.
They said that Don Gainsborough always decorated her private rooms to fit her wardrobe, but Tifa discovered that this wasn't the case: Unlike the deep red shade of Gainsborough's dress, the most prominent color in the bedroom was hot pink, most striking in the large bed dominating the center of the room. Tifa sat down tentatively on the edge as Gainsborough eyed her hungrily, fingers cool as they edged Tifa's collarbone.
/Anything for the rebellion/, Tifa told herself, mentally grimacing at her own lie. Was there any doubt that she had forgotten all about AVALANCHE once she had met Gainsborough's eyes for the first time?
"The dress clashes, doesn't it?"
"What?" Tifa looked up at Gainsborough who had leaned forward, head tilted to the side as she watched Tifa expectingly. "I'm sorry, what?" Tifa muttered, face dropping into a pout as Gainsborough giggled at her. Why was she here again?
"The dress. It doesn't fit in this room, does it?" Gainsborough smirked as Tifa sought for a suitable reply, straightening up and lifting her hands to the shoulder straps of the dress. "I think it's about time I do something about it."
The dress dropped to the floor with a whisper of silk, but Tifa barely registered it as Gainsborough closed the distance between her, dropping her weight into Tifa's lap. Tifa watched on helplessly as her hand rose to Gainsborough's hips, resting all too comfortably to the softness of the skin. Their breasts touched as Gainsborough pushed close, right nipple peeking from the cup of the bra and pressing hard against Tifa's clothed bosom.
Tifa gulped and attempted to fight back:
"Shouldn't it be Donna Gainsborough?"
She almost forgot to listen to the reply when Gainsborough's moist breath brushed the skin under her ear, just a heartbeat before the soft, eager lips pressed into a touch.
"'Don' still ensures respect," Gainsborough whispered, sliding her hands over the curve of Tifa's back, hands splitting from the arch of her neck to ghost over her shoulder blades, re-uniting in a clasp over the small of her back. Hot breath trembled against Tifa's flesh when Gainsborough laughed out, nuzzling the skin just above the high collar of her dress. "But I'm changing that."
Gainsborough pulled away, green eyes shiny with excitement, her hands sliding back up to rest on Tifa's shoulders. Tifa sat there numbly, aware only of Gainsborough's slick thighs resting against hers on both sides of her legs, of strange, blissful heat of her own body, building up in her groin. She allowed her gaze to wander over Gainsborough's nearly nude form, noticing the slender throat, small breasts that didn't completely fit into the bra, another peeking out from a loose cup. She was still clasping Gainsborough's waist, though she longed to move her hands downward, cup the firm buttocks, run over those slim thighs. Tifa had been alone for too long. Her tendency to discover things only when it was too late to do anything about them really was unfortunate.
"After all," Gainsborough whispered, threading her fingers through Tifa's dark hair. "'Don' didn't stop you from taking me for a fool."
The bed started to move on the moment Gainsborough pulled out of Tifa's lap, a tiny remote control - where the hell did she get..? - cradled in her palm. Snapping out of her daze, Tifa made a grab for the Gainsborough, only to collapse backward as the bed flipped, exposing a gulf beneath. The last thing Tifa noticed as she fell was victorious smile on Gainsborough's face as the other woman watched her drop, slender fingers lifted to her brow in a mocking salute.