Premonitions II-A: The Long Week of Hell

BY : Hippo_and_Friends_with_Benefits
Category: Final Fantasy VII > General
Dragon prints: 1580
Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy VII or any characters therin. I am making no money off of this work.

Chapter 25: And Afterward

February 2, 0008

4:00 p.m.

By the time Cloud and Tifa returned to their backyard, everyone had gone inside the tent to take their seats at their tables. The newlywed couple, not wishing to neglect their guests, entered the tent to enormous applause and a standing ovation.

Tifa was beyond touched.

It looks like the whole world wanted this! she thought.

The happy couple made their way to the empty dance floor. And then, Cloud and Tifa embraced each other and began their first dance. They had selected a song from the old world, one that Tifa had thought would suit them both. Cameras began to click as they turned and swayed to the music.

Then, it was time for the father/daughter dance. Tifa had, much to her embarrassment, almost forgotten the event, having been deluged in the thrill of finding her father alive. Elena took care of the song and made sure the dance was in the program.

After that, the dance floor was opened, the strobe lights began to shine, and the music began to play. It was mostly party music, but every now and then, there was a slow dance for couples.

Someone took advantage of that opportunity right away, and immediately began to work up to it.

"So, Zack," Yuffie began with a smirk from her seat next to his, "don't forget you're my wedding date."

"I haven't forgotten," Zack assured her. "We are seated next to each other."

Miss Kisaragi was not impressed.

"That's it?" she exclaimed. "Aren't you going to dance with me?"

Zack sighed.

"Well..." he began.

"Hey!" she interjected. "You're my wedding date. You have to dance with me!"

Zack sighed again.

"But..."

"No buts!" Yuffie insisted.

"I've never danced before," he admitted. "Ever."

It was true; his SOLDIER commitments had caused him to miss every school dance under the sun. But, in addition, he really did not want to dance.

Yuffie gave him a look.

"That's all that's stopping you?" she asked.

Zack was silent. He knew she was not going to give up.

Yuffie stood up and pushed her chair in. She then took Zack's hand and practically yanked him out of his chair. After that, she dragged him to the dance floor.

"Just take your left hand in my right and place your right one on my hip," she commanded.

Defeated, Zack did as he was told, as he felt Yuffie's other hand on his back.

She then began to sway him gently as they danced slowly together.

Zack did not mind at first, but, after about thirty seconds, he began to feel awkward.

"This is for couples," he protested.

"We are a couple," Yuffie retorted. "Until midnight, remember?"

There was no beating this girl.

Resigned to the moment, Zack, continued to slow-dance with Yuffie as he noticed all of the couples around them: Barret and Jessie, Cid and Shera, Reeve and Parker, Elena and Tseng, Reno and Tara, Rude and Kara, and, of course, Cloud and Tifa.

Gradually, the awkwardness subsided. Zack began to feel more comfortable, though he was looking at his surroundings, rather than making eye contact with his date.

"You can look at me," Yuffie reminded him.

Rather than engaging in another quarrel, Zack looked at her.

Yuffie did look beautiful in her blue bridesmaid dress. As he continued to look at her, Zack noticed that she hand a crystal necklace and earrings to match. He could see that she was wearing lipstick, and he also noticed the mascara on her eyes. He was not used to seeing Yuffie all dressed up and wearing makeup. He realized how good of a friend she was to Cloud and Tifa if she wanted to look that nice for their wedding, let alone be involved in it. Zack respected Yuffie for going that extra mile to make Cloud's union to his childhood friend special.

And then, there was something else that Zack realized. He had known Yuffie since she was nine. In a way he was...her childhood friend as well.

Finally, the song ended, and Zack and Yuffie broke their embrace.

Yuffie took a step back, and smiled at him.

"You know what?" she asked. "You're not half bad!"

"T-Thanks," Zack stammered.

Although he was not willing to admit it, he was quite flattered.

"We can sit down, now," she permitted. "At least until the next slow dance."

4:30 p.m.

A hilarious moment occurred in one corner of the tent as the fast dancing was going on.

Johnny, having not seen Shera slow-dancing with Cid, approached her with the intention of hitting on her.

"That dress really flatters you," he began.

"Thank you," Shera replied. "A bridesmaid's dress is designed to flatter her figure to get the attention of any potential male suitor."

Johnny grinned; he was thinking that Shera was as eager for him as he was for her; he did not realize how blunt she often was by nature.

"So," he continued. "What are you doing after the wedding?"

Shera decided to be blunt again.

"I'm having sex with my boyfriend," she replied, without making eye contact.

"Oh," muttered Johnny as he quietly backed away.

4:45 p.m.

Soon, it was time for the tosses. Tifa would toss her bouquet of flowers into a pool of single women, signifying the next one to get married. After that, Cloud would toss the garter to all the men.

Tifa was first. She stood at one end of the dance floor as all of the single women (which included everyone, with the exception of Aunt Lara) gathered behind her. Right away, a naughty idea popped into her mind. Always the prankster, she would never pass up an opportunity.

All of the women behind her got ready to dive for the bouquet with great anticipation. Some of them had boyfriends and others were single, but they all knew that Cloud and Tifa had only been together for three weeks, so they were well aware that anything went.

Come on, thought Elena. Give Tseng a hint!

It's just for fun, Shera thought. It doesn't mean anything.

Maybe it's best I don't catch it, Jessie thought. Barret might think I'm moving too fast.

Tifa, with a wicked grin on her face that nobody could see, thrust her arms backward.

Yuffie, Shera, and Tara quickly charged in Tifa's direction, while the rest of the ladies prepared to catch the bouquet.

It was then that they all realized that said bouquet was still in Tifa's hands.

Tifa could hear several groans from behind her.

"Sorry, ladies!" she called. "I couldn't resist!"

She then prepared to toss the bouquet again.

All of the single women prepared themselves once more.

Tifa flung her arms back again, but the bouquet still did not leave her hands.

"Dammit, Tifa!" Yuffie shouted.

Tifa rocked with laughter.

"Okay," she said. "This time it's for real. I promise!"

She prepared herself once more, and, this time, she actually did toss the bouquet.

All of the ladies charged for the flying flowers.

Moments later, Tifa turned around to see that it was Sage who had caught it.

"Looks like the rest of you have to wait a while!" the eleven-year-old girl announced.

Cloud, meanwhile, when it came to tossing the garter, played no games, and simply tossed it.

Red XIII caught it in his mouth.

5:00 p.m.

Entrees were served at five. There was everything under the sun; steak, chicken, and a few vegetarian meals. Everyone quickly lined up and got their food with the greatest of ease. The dance floor was still open, but it was mostly empty.

Jessie seemed quiet during that time. She was eating, but was also staring off into space, as if she had something on her mind.

"What's up?" Barret asked when he noticed.

"Not a lot," Jessie replied. "Just something I've realized."

"Realized?" he asked.

It's the timeline, again, he thought.

"I think I'm going to be okay," Jessie began. "And I really thought about what you said at Gold Saucer two nights ago. So I'm going to live my life, too."

"That's great to hear!" Barret said.

"Look at Tobin. Look at Zack. Look at Brian," she continued. "They all fooled the timeline. Maybe I can as well."

Barret became silent. It now seemed as if she was getting ready to tell him something.

"So," Jessie continued, "what do you think about a date in the middle of the week?"

Barret smiled.

"I'd like that," he replied.

"I'm up for the boardwalk in Costa del Sol if you are," Jessie suggested. "If I'm going to live my life, I would like to involve you in it."

"Sounds good," Barret agreed.

Yes! thought Jessie. He wants another date! Since it's the beach, maybe I can get a chance to show some skin off...

5:30 p.m.

It was now time for Cloud and Tifa to cut the cake. The cake was wheeled out to the center of the room, and Cloud and Tifa stood behind it, holding the knife. With both of their hands clutching, they guided the blade into the cake, cutting themselves two small pieces.

Cloud took his piece of cake and gently gave it to his bride.

Tifa took her piece and, without warning, shoved it into Cloud's mouth, resulting in more loud cheers from the guests. Cloud's face was a sudden mess, but Tifa quickly took a napkin and lovingly wiped it clean.

5:40 p.m.

Shortly afterward, as pieces of the cake were being served to the guests, Cloud and Tifa remained standing.

"So," Cloud began, "who here filled out the questionnaire?"

Virtually the entire wedding shouted the affirmative.

"Well, then," Tifa said, "I figured you'd all like the answers?"

Once again, virtually the entire wedding shouted the affirmative.

"All right," Cloud announced. "We'll read the answers. Let's see what you all got right about us."

"'Who is older?'" began Tifa, "that would be Cloud. He's twenty-one and I'm twenty."

There were no groans; most guests had answered that question correctly.

"'Who said 'I love you' first?'" Cloud continued. "That was Tifa. She said it on the bridge of the Highwind when Meteor was falling."

There were no groans here either; that was a fairly obvious one.

"'Who's the better driver?'" Tifa read. "That's Cloud. He looked really badass on that motorcycle while we were fleeing the Shinra Building. I almost crashed the pickup truck from glancing at his butt a couple of times."

Cloud gave her a surprised look.

"Well, now you know," Tifa laughed.

"Moving on," said Cloud. "'Who is the first to forgive?' That's Tifa, one hundred percent. She's forgiven me where nobody else would."

One of the female guests (neither Cloud nor Tifa figured out who) yelled "amen!"

"'Who is more of a thrill seeker?'" Tifa continued. "I don't mean to toot my own horn, but, me."

"Agreed," Cloud admitted. "'Who has the crazier family?' Ladies and gentlemen, I happen to be a Shinra. Don't run!"

There was little commotion among the guests; most of them did not seem surprised.

"'Who is needier when they're sick?'" Tifa asked. "Well, I don't mean to embarrass you, but..."

"I know, I know!" Cloud playfully interrupted. "You had to take care of me when I had that mako poisoning and when you found me at the train station. Zack can back you up on it. Okay. 'Who is smarter?'"

"Cloud!" Tifa answered loudly less than second later. "Sorry, but you are. If you never came back into my life, I'd probably be blowing up the Sector Seven Reactor by now. 'Who is the best gift-giver?'"

"That would be Tifa," Cloud announced. "In fact, while we were dating, she gave me a present for every birthday we were apart."

There were many "awws" from the guests, mainly the women.

"And finally," Tifa continued, "'who can hold their alcohol the best?' That has to be Cloud. I'm not of the drinking age yet."

"So," Cloud finished, "everybody count your correct answers, and no cheating!"

5:50 p.m.

The music and dancing resumed. Most of the guests had finished eating, and were back on the dance floor. Sage could be seen walking about, twirling her baton. Kara was grind-dancing against Rude, and Reeve was keeping an eye on Sage to make sure she wasn't looking.

There were two guests he had remained seated. They more or less had a decent reason to be.

"You don't want to get up?" Tobin asked, noticing that his best friend remained seated.

"I can't dance to save my life," Cissnei laughed. "It's not the life I was raised for."

She remembered being adopted by the Shinra when she was a child. Her life was anything but normal.

"You can decide for yourself now," he pointed out. "Look at my cousin. She's twenty years old and proposed to Cloud, pursued her father, beat the translator's fun house, planned her wedding, survived a horrid beating, rescued her father, and married Cloud, all within a week!"

Cissnei lowered her head.

"Age doesn't matter," she replied. "Look at me. I'm twenty-five and haven't even had my first kiss, let alone a ring on my finger!"

Tobin immediately felt guilty, as if he had opened a wound.

"I'm sorry," he apologized. "I shouldn't have said that."

"No," dismissed Cissnei as she shook her head. "It's okay. Sometimes, though, I wish I could have had a normal life growing up. Look at Sage, twirling her baton. When I was eleven, I was twirling nunchucks."

"You did save Zack's life," Tobin pointed out.

"True," she agreed. "I guess that alone would make it worth it."

"And your life is pretty normal now," he added. "The Shinra's gone. You're at a wedding. It's a whole new life, I think."

Cissnei raised her head, feeling slightly better.

"Which reminds me," she said, "you still up for karaoke tonight?"

"You bet," Tobin replied. "I do owe it to you after running off to the Island Gulag. Hell, I owe you a lot."

"You got that right, bud," Cissnei agreed with a smile as she playfully elbowed him.

Come to think of it, Tobin thought to himself, didn't she say she had a punishment for me if I came back alive? I know she threatened me with one right before Zack and I left. What was it?

He thought about it for a while as he nursed what was left of his meal, and as the other wedding guests continued to dance away. Then, it popped in his head.

I remember. Clean the whole apartment. I suppose it's only fair. Hell, it's my room that's messier anyway. I'd be doing myself a favor.

"The bar in Xing's open until two in the morning," Cissnei continued. "Of course, we'll stay at the wedding until it's over. This is the very first wedding I've been to."

Tobin was happy that she was beginning to experience a regular life. He tried to enjoy it while he could, because, when they got home, he would have to clean the whole apartment.

Clean the whole apartment, he thought. She said that if I came back alive, I would have to clean the whole apartment.

"Something on your mind?" Cissnei asked.

"Nah," Tobin replied. "I'm good."

Suddenly, that no longer sounded right to him.

Was it clean the whole apartment? he thought. Or was it...something else?

He continued to ponder it as the sky began to change from blue to orange.



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