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11:11

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Tifa’s ready to collapse when she and Aerith finally get back to her apartment. It’s late, and she’s spent. Barret dragged them out on another Avalanche mission that lasted a few days longer than he’d promised, and while she should’ve expected this after the last few missions, she was nonetheless unprepared.

Aerith though, always full of energy, seems as chipper as ever. “Tifa! Do you know what time it is?”

Feeling the ache in her bones, Tifa dryly responds, “Past my bedtime, that’s for sure.”

Aerith giggles in response, and Tifa immediately feels her mood lighten, her heart flutter. That wasn’t supposed to be funny, but she’s once again amazed by the effect the other woman has on her. It’s been a few weeks since the pair started dating, and she’s pretty sure a swarm of rather active butterflies has since taken residence in her chest. 

“No, silly,” Aerith playfully chastises, seemingly unaware of the emotion she incites within the brawler. She gestures to the wall. “Look! It’s 11:11!”

Tifa’s gaze follows the motion to the clock, then returns to stare blankly at her girlfriend. A beat passes, and she can hear the puzzlement in her own voice when she echos, “11:11?”

Aerith looks at her with wide eyes. “You don’t know about 11:11? Babe, I am about to blow your mind.” 

Since their fateful meeting seemingly a lifetime ago, Aerith hasn’t stopped blowing her mind, Tifa thinks. But she holds the thought as she feels her confusion (and affection) grow. She waits patiently until the other woman explains, “At 11:11, you get to make a wish!” 

“Wait, what? To who? About what?” Tifa launches questions at her girlfriend as curiosity overcomes her exhaustion. She doesn’t necessarily believe in such things, but she’s always open to hearing whatever the other woman has to say.

“To the planet! You can wish for whatever you want.” Aerith smiles at her (that can’t be good for Tifa’s heart), before she turns and looks at nothing in particular. “It’s just an old wive’s tale that my mom told me when we were living at Shinra’s Headquarters. But it helped me get by when times were tough.”

Tifa feels her heart clench as she imagines a young Aerith lying awake in that Shinra cell, praying to the planet, hoping for better times. She hesitates, unsure if she should voice her next question, before she softly inquires, “What did you wish for?”

“Oh, you’re not supposed to tell other people your wish, or else it won’t come true!” Aerith reaches out for Tifa’s hand as she continues, “I will say though, that I’ve gotten more than I thought I could ever wish for.” 

Aerith squeezes her hand, and Tifa looks over to see emerald eyes gazing at her fondly. She feels a blush climb up her neck and she has to look away, not trusting herself to say the next words while looking directly at her girlfriend. “I don’t think I’ve made a wish to the planet at 11:11 before, but seeing as I get to be with you like this, I guess it decided to answer my wishes anyways, too.”

She hears Aerith squeal beside her, and Tifa looks over just in time to be swept away by the delighted aura that emanates from the other woman. “Aww, Tifa!” Aerith gets out before caressing her face and drawing her in for a sweet kiss. 

Tifa’s pretty sure she could drown in Aerith’s kisses, and she would just thank her and wonder what she did to deserve such a blessing. 

Aerith pulls back first and pushes Tifa toward the bathroom. “C’mon. I know you’re exhausted, but you have to clean up at least a little before getting in bed.”

“What about you?” They were both out on the mission, after all.

“Is that an invitation to join you?” Aerith counters, waggling her eyebrows.

“Wha- No, that wasn’t-“ Tifa sputters, ears hot, before rushing into the bathroom behind her. From the other side of the closed door, she can hear Aerith’s giggles.

Tifa rests the back of her head against the door as she feels the blush spread across her face. It’s not like they hadn’t seen each other unclothed before - after all, they’ve shared numerous rooms across the continent throughout their life-altering journey. Still, the thought of showering with Aerith felt much more intimate than she was used to. 

Shaking her head before her mind could drift to more… provocative thoughts, she turns on the water and sheds her grimey clothing. When she steps into the shower, she feels the hot water ease any remaining tension from her body.

Before long, she’s drifting off to sleep when Aerith presses her lips against her cheek and slips into bed, an arm resting atop her torso and head tucked into the crook of her neck. Tifa lazily shifts so her arm is wrapped around the other woman’s waist, and she can feel Aerith’s smile against her collarbone.

They share soft “good nights,” and in her half-asleep state, Tifa decides two things. First, this woman is going to be the death of her. Second, death by Aerith wouldn’t be so bad, really. So at 11:11 from this day forward, she’s going to pray to the planet to allow her to be with the woman in her arms for as long as humanly possible.

 


 

“So what’d you wanna talk about, Tifa?” 

The bar closed for the night not too long ago, and now the moment she had been anticipating (read: dreading) all day was here. Yes, she’d been the one who asked Barret if he could give her advice earlier today. And yes, she’d been putting off this conversation for far too long. But that didn’t make this any easier, as he sat across from her at one of the bar’s tables.

His face is serious, and despite normally feeling comfortable in his presence, she feels her stomach clench with nervousness. 

“So recently I’ve been feeling…” she searches for an adequate description, but comes up empty. “Weird,” she finishes lamely. She’s never been good at this whole talking about her feelings thing.

He quirks an eyebrow but otherwise remains expressionless. “Whaddya mean?”

Apparently undeterred by her previous ineloquent response, the words begin to fly off her tongue. “Well, first off, I haven’t had an appetite which is weird because I’ve been training as much as, if not more than, usual. Why am I not hungry? My macros are all over the place. Also, my heart has been pounding non-stop. Is this what a heart attack feels like? And I’ve been sweaty all the time, and-”

Barret laughs loudly, which she finds simultaneously calming and nerve-wracking. Probably not a heart attack then, at least.

“So that’s what this’s about, huh? Shoulda guessed by how fidgety ya been lately. Things going well with Aerith?”

Tifa feels herself flush at Aerith’s name, and she’s definitely not being defensive when she retorts, “What does Aerith have to do with this? And I haven’t been fidgety!”

“Heh, even Marlene coulda knocked ya out during yesterday’s training, the way you were lookin’ at ‘er the whole time.”

She shoots him a glare. He knows how seriously she takes training. Even if she might have been a little bit… distracted. Not that she would ever admit that.

Barret chuckles. “You’ve got it bad, Tifa.” 

Confused by his statement, Tifa relaxes her glare. “Got what bad?”

His face softens. “I remember how I felt when I was with my wife, Myrna. She and her family moved to Corel when I was a teenager. I couldn’t get her outta my mind, and somehow I was lucky enough for her to feel the same.”

"What was she like?" Tifa's intrigued. Barret has never talked much about his past, even after their visit to Corel.

His face takes on a soft smile as he reminisces about his wife, and he says wistfully, "She was perfect. Beautiful smile, heart of gold, and- wait. Stop tryna change the subject." He narrows his eyes at Tifa who just shrugs innocently. She was genuinely interested!

Before she can say as much, a knowing grin crosses Barret's face. "Point is, before I knew it, we were in love."

“Hold on, hold on.” Tifa stops him and takes a moment to process. Is he saying what she thinks he’s saying? Sure, she’d entertained the thought briefly, but– “Aerith and I have only been dating for a few weeks. Isn’t it too early for words like love?”

“Ya’ve known her for way longer than that. Raised enough hell for a few lifetimes in that time together, too.” He smirks, and Tifa nearly scoffs at how proud he sounds. 

“Besides,” he continues, “We both know that life ain’t always kind enough to give us the luxury of waiting.” 

He’s right about that, she knows all too well, but he can probably see the uncertainty on her face as she chews her bottom lip.

“Look, anybody with eyes can see how happy ya make each other. And you ain’t the only one Jessie, Biggs, and Wedge’ve been pestering about you two.” He says it with exasperation, but there’s fondness in his eyes. 

Tifa chuckles and shakes her head. Since she’d first introduced them to Aerith a few weeks ago, the trio had been asking her for near-daily updates about their relationship. (Jessie had explained with a suspiciously innocent look, “It’s the first time we’ve seen you like this! All giddy and gross. We’re happy for you!” Wedge and Biggs were nodding behind her. All three of them are ridiculous.)

“Okay, so say I do… love her. But what if… what if she doesn’t…” She hates the way her voice stutters, unable to finish the sentence, almost fearing she’ll speak her fears into existence.

Barret, to his credit, has the decency to at least try to hide his disbelief. “Tifa, the girl’s crazy about ya! There ain’t no way she don’t feel the same.”

Tifa opens her mouth, then closes it again. She looks down to her hands in her lap, unsure of what to say. 

“You deserve to be happy. And love or not, take it from someone who cares about the both of ya. She obviously makes you happy. You make each other happy.”

Tifa slowly nods, looking up at him. “Thanks Barret. I’ll think about what you said.”

Barret smiles and nods in return, then rests his hand on her shoulder. “Anytime.”

"And next time, you'll have to tell me more about Myrna!"

Barret just chuckles.

***

It’s late when she gets back to her apartment. Her body is still misbehaving, but at least her chat with Barret has given her some sort of insight regarding what could possibly be causing it to do so, as hesitant as she is to admit it. 

Love. The word rings loudly in her ears. Do people really experience these kinds of extensive bodily reactions? Doesn’t that seem a little… cliche? 

Her light is on, she notices as she unlocks the door. Aerith has been staying over at her apartment several times a week since they started dating, and she must’ve stayed up to wait for her.

Or, not. She opens the door and can’t help but smile. The other woman is sleeping peacefully on the bed they share, her body leaning against the headboard with an open book in her lap. She looks so beautifully relaxed, and Tifa feels her heart swell with the knowledge that Aerith has entrusted this side of herself exclusively to her.

Tifa quietly closes the door behind her and removes her boots, carefully placing them next to Aerith's. She grabs the bookmark off of the nightstand and slips it between the open pages before placing the book on the nightstand. 

She then quickly gets ready for bed, unwilling to disturb the other woman from her well-deserved sleep quite yet.

A glance at the clock reveals that it’s a little past 11 pm, and as had become habit recently, Tifa silently prepares her nightly wish to the planet.

Please help me understand my feelings so I can get my body back under control. And as always, please let me remain an important part of Aerith’s life.

She can only hope the planet wouldn’t think she’s being too greedy for expressing more than one wish.

Despite her best efforts to keep quiet though, she hears rustling behind her about halfway through her nightly routine.

She turns around upon hearing Aerith groan as she’s roused from slumber, stretching her arms adorably above her head. 

“Morning,” Tifa greets. “Sorry, I was trying not to wake you.”

Aerith sends her a sleepy smile, “It’s okay.” She rubs her eye then confirms Tifa’s earlier suspicions when she says, “I was planning to stay up until you got back, but I guess my body had other ideas.”

Tifa pads across the cozy room and pecks her girlfriend on the lips.

Aerith gives a satisfied hum and asks, “Everything alright at the bar tonight?”

Tifa continues preparing for bed, and tries to appear nonchalant when she responds, “Yeah, I was just chatting with Barret a bit after closing.”

Aerith eyes her warily. “There isn’t another Avalanche mission coming up already, is there? Do you ever get a break?”

Tifa chuckles and attempts to assuage her girlfriend’s budding concern. “Gods, I hope not. I was just asking him for some, uh, advice,” she says intentionally vaguely.

Aerith, bless her heart, is always willing to extend her aid and inquires, “Oh yeah? About what? Anything I can help with?”

No point in trying to hide anything. Tifa found out early in their friendship that Aerith has an uncanny ability to recognize when she’s lying, no matter how small it may be. “Well, recently my body has been behaving strangely. Like, I haven’t had an appetite, and my heart feels like it’s racing. I wanted to see if Barret had any idea why.”

Aerith looks like she’s mulling something over, and she thoughtfully responds, “I’ve been feeling similarly.” 

Is that so? Tifa files that information away for later consideration, as Aerith continues, “Did he have any useful advice?”

Love. Tifa shakes her head and ignores the thought. “No, not really.” She rolls her eyes exaggeratedly as she pulls back the sheets. “Said something about needing to train harder for the next mission, whenever that will be.” Technically not a lie, right?

Tifa’s sure Aerith noticed her fib, but must sense that she doesn’t want to reveal anything more for now because she lets the topic go. “That must be why you’re always in such great shape. I thought you were already training pretty hard during our last session.” Aerith pokes her stomach, knowing it’ll make Tifa squirm.

“Stop that,” she giggles.

Aerith just grins at her innocently before scooting over.

Cuddled close with legs tangled in a heap, Tifa feels Aerith run her fingers through her hair, and it’s not long before she falls asleep.

***

Tifa watches in horror as Sephiroth descends from above, sword piercing through Aerith’s back.

Green eyes grow wide as her body slumps over before being yanked violently back when he withdraws his blade.

“Aerith!” she hears her own voice scream. She tries to run to the other woman – to catch her before she falls to the ground. But her body feels like lead as she struggles to move her limbs.

Cloud catches her, but Tifa can see in his eyes that it’s too late, and she’s not sure even having her chest split open can compare to the pain she’s feeling now.

She doesn’t realize she’s made it up the altar until she’s kneeling over her. Can’t bear to look at blood-soaked pink, so she instead focuses her attention on her face. Her fingertips run through wavy chestnut hair then stroke her soft cheek. It’s still warm, and tears blur Tifa’s vision. She wants to see Aerith smile, even just one last time.

This can’t be. There’s still so much she wants to experience with the other woman. She wants to laugh at her awful jokes. To cook her favorite foods. To watch as emerald eyes light up upon learning something new –

***

“–fa! Hey! Tifa!” 

She wakes with a start. Her breathing is heavy as she forces air into her tight, aching chest.

She takes a moment to get her bearings. It’s still dark out, but she recognizes she’s in her apartment, sitting up in bed. Aerith is beside her with a hand on her shoulder and a concerned look on her face. 

It’s been a while since she last had a nightmare this bad. 

They’ve both had their fair share of practice with reassuring the other through tough episodes, so upon realizing Tifa’s now fully conscious, Aerith pulls her into an embrace and quietly consoles her. “Hey, hey. It’s okay babe. You’re okay.” Tifa leans into the other woman and tries to control her breathing.

Her girlfriend continues to comfort her until her breath evens out. “Bad dream?” she inquires softly.

Tifa breathes out and nods. “Yeah. I was– You were–”

Aerith waits patiently while she tries to form the words, hesitant to relive the hellish scene.

Finally, she settles on, “You died. Sephiroth killed you right in front of me, and I couldn't save you.” Tifa shudders and inhales deeply. It’s okay. Aerith is here in her arms, safe and alive. 

Aerith pulls back slightly, and her hands make their way down to Tifa’s. Tifa lets her gently loosen the tight grip she has on the sheets. She has an unusually serious expression when she looks Tifa in the eye. 

In that moment, all the emotions from the last few weeks swell in her chest, and she’s beyond certain that she loves Aerith Gainsborough. 

Barret was right (she’d be annoyed with the admission if not for the urgency of the matter at hand). Life doesn’t wait for anyone, and she’s not going to let another moment pass without making sure Aerith knows just how deep Tifa’s love for her goes.

Aerith opens her mouth to say something, but Tifa has to share her latest revelation now, or she fears she might explode. 

“Can I tell you something?”

Aerith looks surprised for a moment but then smiles and nods. “Of course. Anything.” 

Tifa briefly wonders if her girlfriend can hear her heart pounding from across the bed. “I think… I mean, I’m pretty sure that…” She can do this. She takes a deep breath and powers on. “I love you.”

She’s looking at their joined hands, which are now settled between them, as she continues, “It’s just… something I’ve been thinking about for a while now, and I want you to know. I know we haven’t been together for very long, and don’t feel pressured to respond right away–”

“Tifa.” Aerith draws her attention, and Tifa is dazzled by the wide smile on her girlfriend’s face. She feels her own lips stretch to match when Aerith responds, “I love you, too.”

The adoration in Aerith’s gaze is evident even in the moonlit room, and her prior anxiousness is replaced with pure joy.

She’s suddenly unsure of why she was so wary of her feelings in the first place, as she wraps her girlfriend in her arms, laughing as she tugs them both down to lie on the bed. 

Aerith giggles from her place atop Tifa, as she shimmies her way up until their noses are touching.

Tifa can feel Aerith’s breath on her lips when she asks sincerely, “Did you have any doubt?”

She looks away, feeling somewhat ashamed as she admits, “It’s not that you’ve given me any reason to doubt. I was just… scared. Scared that I was the only one with these feelings.”

Aerith’s finger hooks beneath her chin to turn her head back until they make eye contact. 

“Tifa Lockhart. I’m almost certain I’ve been a little bit in love with you since the moment we met, and every moment I’m with you, those feelings have only continued to grow. Believe me when I say that you’re definitely not the only one.”

Tifa’s not sure her smile will ever leave her face, and she leans up to capture the other woman’s lips with her own.

Aerith groans and shifts to straddle Tifa’s hips. Tifa places her hands on the other woman’s waist to support her as she deepens the kiss. 

Before she’s too out of breath though, Aerith pulls back. “I never want you to doubt my love for you,” she says huskily before ducking her head and nuzzling her nose against Tifa’s neck.

Tifa hears herself whine as she subconsciously turns her head, exposing her neck in invitation. Aerith chuckles before peppering the tender skin with kisses. 

Tifa groans when she finds a particularly sensitive spot below her ear. Aerith lightly nips the spot before soothing it over with her tongue, relishing in this discovery. Tifa gasps in surprise and feels heat start to pool in her belly in response.

She becomes vaguely aware that Aerith’s hands, which were previously running up and down her sides, have started toying with the hem of her shirt, fingers fluttering and leaving behind a searing heat on exposed skin.

Aerith pulls back, her breathing heavy, green eyes dark, and lovely as ever. “Can I?” she asks, glancing down to where her hands are beginning to lift Tifa’s night shirt.

They’ve been intimate only a couple times before, and Tifa still gets nervous when the topic comes up. Still, she nods as she breathes out, “Yes.” She doesn’t want to hold anything back from the woman she loves any longer. 

Because sure, Tifa has gotten looks before – from people on the street, from patrons at the bar. But the way Aerith looks at her has always made her feel different. Aerith looks at her with adoration, with appreciation, with love, she recognizes now.

Gods, she’s an idiot.

Aerith beams at her, knowing full well the significance of Tifa’s consent, and Tifa can’t resist leaning up to bring their lips together once again.

Aerith gasps in surprise, then Tifa feels soft lips grin against her own. After a moment, Aerith uses their new position to her advantage, gentle hands running beneath her shirt to caress her sides, her stomach, her back. She bunches up the shirt and Tifa helps her pull it over her head.

Tifa feels herself blush as she watches Aerith’s eyes scan her bare figure in appreciation. 

“You’re so beautiful,” she whispers, with a distinct hint of awe. 

You’re the beautiful one, Tifa wants to respond, but her mind goes blank when Aerith kisses her again. She leaves a trail of kisses to Tifa’s chest, whispering sweet praises after each one. 

On her lips. 

“Compassionate.”

On her chin. 

“Powerful.”

On her neck.

“Elegant.”

Aerith carefully grazes her lips along the length of the long thin scar across her chest.

“Courageous.”

Each kiss and compliment make her body tingle with emotion. Unspoken but clearly conveyed with each action is the message, “I love you.”

Tifa grips the back of Aerith’s nightgown as her lips reach the end their journey, tenderly kissing around her right breast before flicking her tongue across a hard nipple, and an appreciative groan escapes Tifa’s mouth.

Meanwhile, Aerith’s hand busies itself by massaging Tifa’s left breast, alternating between palming and flicking the tender bud. 

Tifa opens her eyes and hazards a glance down at the other woman to find green eyes watching her face. Her core throbs with need, and a wave of embarrassment washes over her. She tries to deflect this by saying, “You’re still wearing too many layers.”

Aerith smirks, and in a surprising show of awareness given the circumstances, Tifa manages to bunch Aerith’s nightgown up above her hips. She feels a beat of disappointment when Aerith’s mouth breaks contact with her skin, but the feeling immediately dissipates as she pulls the gown seamlessly over her head and tosses it across the room. 

“Better?” Aerith asks cheekily.

“Much,” Tifa breathes out, letting her gaze drift appreciatively down her girlfriend’s flawless frame.

Aerith lets Tifa marvel for a moment before she swiftly reclaims Tifa's lips, while Tifa lets eager hands roam along her girlfriend’s soft skin. 

Aerith slots her thigh between Tifa’s legs and applies delicious pressure.

“You’re so wet.” Aerith’s voice is low and husky.

“It’s your fault,” she mumbles, but she can feel the heat rush to her cheeks.

“Better be.” Did Aerith just growl? And gods, the smirk that accompanies redirects the heat from her cheeks to straight between her legs.

Tifa feels her girlfriend’s body rock against her own while she grinds shamelessly against her thigh. Aerith kisses her one more time before slowly making her way down Tifa’s torso. 

“Breathtaking,” she whispers, before lightly blowing cool air on her stomach. 

In reaction, Tifa clenches her abs, much to the other woman’s delight. She hums in appreciation before kissing the defined muscles, and Tifa would laugh if she wasn’t so caught up in the sensations her girlfriend was bestowing upon her.

Aerith continues her journey south, leaving a trail of heat and kisses in her wake. Tifa can feel her legs tremble in anticipation as Aerith kisses along her thighs, still unbearably far from where Tifa needs her most. 

“Aerith…” she pleads.

Named woman giggles as she places one more open mouthed kiss on the inside of her thigh, as her fingers slip beneath the waistband of noticeably damp sleep shorts. 

Tifa lifts her hips to help her girlfriend remove them, and Aerith slips both the shorts and equally ruined panties down her legs and flings them over her shoulder. She hooks a leg over her shoulder and Tifa feels suddenly exposed as Aerith gazes hungrily at her core. 

“Gorgeous,” she murmurs again, before diving in. Tifa groans as Aerith’s tongue runs up her slit, lapping the wetness that’s threatening to drip onto her sheets. 

Aerith makes quick work of her task, and soon moves up to suck at Tifa’s clit, and Tifa hears herself cry out in pleasure. 

She feels one of Aerith’s hands clasp her own, while the other joins her mouth between Tifa’s legs. Tifa can’t help but cry out again as lithe fingers dip between her folds, running up and down before slipping inside of her. 

She feels her stomach coil as Aerith finds a steady rhythm, licking her clit and pumping her fingers into her. The sensations of her tongue and hands stoke flames of pleasure across her body, and Tifa’s sure she will never get enough of this woman.

Suddenly, Aerith curls her fingers just right, and Tifa loses herself as stars fill her vision. 

Aerith gently extracts her mouth and fingers as Tifa comes down from her high. She feels fatigue set in as Aerith kisses her softly and settles against her side.

“Wow,” she breathes out.

Aerith giggles, “Is that all you have to say?”

Tifa grins and shakes her head. “You’re incredible.” She kisses the top of Aerith’s head before continuing, “Sometimes I can’t believe how lucky I am to have you here with me.”

“I’m the lucky one,” Aerith begins, before she takes a deep breath, as if contemplating whether or not to give voice to the words on her tongue.

“Something wrong?”

“No, it’s just… you know your dream? How you said Sephiroth killed me?”

Of course Tifa remembers. “It felt so realistic.”

“Well… I’m not totally sure how to explain this, but I believe that was an alternate timeline. The way our journey across the planet was supposed to happen. I used to get visions about that too,” Aerith explains softly.

“You mean, you were supposed to die?” Tifa asks, trying to wrap her head around what Aerith was telling her. The thought sends chills down her spine.

Aerith’s voice is quiet when she responds, “Yeah. When we defeated Destiny, we altered the timeline, and well. Here we are.”

She sounds sad, Tifa notices. She feels another chill run down her spine when she thinks about how their fateful journey could have played out (should have played out, if Aerith was correct). 

“I prefer this timeline, thanks.”

Aerith laughs. “Me too.”

Tifa’s heart swells, and she feels an overwhelming, desperate urge to show the other woman just how grateful she is that they’re here together. How much she loves her. 

In what’s absolutely not just a blatant show of strength, she flips them both over so she’s pressed on top of the smaller woman.  Aerith looks up at her in equal parts confusion, affection, and arousal.

“What’re you doing?”

“Returning the favor,” Tifa explains casually, despite her growing nerves.

“Is that so?” Aerith asks innocently, arms wrapping themselves behind Tifa’s neck. 

“Mm-hmm,” Tifa confirms as she dips her head down to catch Aerith’s lips. 

Aerith moans into her mouth, before running her tongue along her lower lip. Tifa gasps and Aerith takes the opportunity to tug her lower lip between her teeth and suck on it lightly.

Oh, well that was… something. Tifa’s head spins as she breathes heavily, trying to catch her breath once Aerith releases her. Before she can though, Aerith guides her head down to her breast.

Tifa’s more than happy to oblige, and she flicks her tongue lazily around the pert nipple. She shifts her weight onto one arm and draws the other up to fondle her girlfriend’s other breast. 

Aerith moans again, and Tifa is really enjoying the feeling of the other woman writhing under her, fingers raking against her shoulders and back. She teases her girlfriend a little longer, thumbing the hardened bud before switching her attention, placing open-mouthed kisses and running her tongue over the opposite breast.

Once she’s satiated, she releases the breast with a satisfying pop.

She glances up to see Aerith watching her, eyes lidded and heavy breaths escaping slightly parted lips. Upon making eye contact, Aerith brings her hand up and clasps Tifa’s before guiding it down between her legs. 

“Please,” she rasps, and well, since she asked so nicely.

Tifa rubs her fingers lightly against her panties and groans. “And you said I was wet?”

“What can I say? I really like pleasuring you,” Aerith responds shamelessly, and despite having already orgasmed once tonight, Tifa feels another wave of heat rush between her legs.

Tifa chuckles and kisses the other woman once again. Aerith’s kisses are needy, passionate, and Tifa can’t get enough.

She slips a finger past her soaked underwear and glides her fingers along her opening. Aerith whimpers, and fuck, Tifa needs to hear more of that now. Luckily, her girlfriend is more than ready for her, and her fingers slip in easily.

Tifa pumps in and out with a steady pace. “Tifa, Tifa, Tifa,” Aerith chants repeatedly, reverently, with every pump of her fingers. And with every utterance, Tifa feels herself fall a little more in love with the woman in her arms. 

Tifa adjusts her hand so her thumb rubs against Aerith’s clit, and Aerith cries out, “Ah!” before continuing to moan, “Unh… Tifa, yeah… Just like, ahh – like that.”

Tifa can’t help the grin plastered on her own face, proud that she’s able to produce such a reaction from the other woman. 

“I love you,” Tifa whispers into her girlfriend’s ear, and almost immediately she feels the other woman tighten around her fingers as she simultaneously cries out. 

An unexpected reaction, but extremely satisfying nonetheless, Tifa determines as she continues her fingering.

"Aerith, babe, I love you so much," she continues, whispering through Aerith's relentless moans. "You mean the world to me."

Suddenly, Aerith's hands are on her face as she forces their lips together and all but screams into Tifa's mouth. Tifa's nearly overcome with joy as she slows her pumping, easing her girlfriend through her orgasm-induced high.

Aerith’s breathing begins to calm and she slowly opens her eyes, the affection radiating to pierce Tifa squarely in the chest. 

They share another long kiss before Aerith abruptly hops out of bed with a quick, “Hang on.” She bounds across the room and starts rummaging around her bag.

Tifa watches in confusion when she pulls out a nondescript box. “What’s that?” 

Aerith only winks at her, all of her assets now shamelessly on display as she makes her way back to the bed. Her fair body is littered with marks left by Tifa’s hands and mouth, and Tifa swallows dryly, watching Aerith’s hips sway seductively.

Aerith opens the box to reveal a light purple dildo and begins to sanitize it as she explains, “I found it at Wall Market not too long ago and wanted to try it. Is this okay?” She meets Tifa’s gaze with a rare shy look.

Tifa feels herself flush and briefly wonders what Aerith gets up to while she’s manning the bar. She won’t deny Aerith the pleasure if that’s what she wants though, so she wordlessly nods and heat shoots between her legs as she imagines pleasuring the other woman with the toy.

Aerith gives her a bright grin and starts to pull the straps up her hips.

Oh, that’s what she meant. Tifa feels herself blush even deeper as nervousness surges through her. She’s never used a toy like this before and isn’t quite sure what to expect.

Maybe she isn’t ready. She’s about to voice her uncertainty just as Aerith finishes tightening the straps. “There we go!”

Tifa rakes her eyes over the other woman, stopping at the new purple appendage between her legs. Aerith shakes her hips, causing the thing to wiggle ridiculously. “It’s so funny looking!” she exclaims. “Let’s name it Richard.”

Tifa lets out a laugh. It is funny looking, especially pinned to Aerith’s slender frame. “Why Richard?”

“You know. Like how Dick is a nickname for Richard.”

Tifa grins and shakes her head at her girlfriend’s antics. Boy, does she love a huge dork. “Sure, that’s a good name,” she responds diplomatically. Aerith always knows how to put her at ease, she’s reminded, as she feels the tension dissolve from her body. 

She’s further reminded of the power Aerith holds over her when said woman climbs back on top of her, straddling her hips.

She leans down and places a chaste kiss to Tifa’s lips while she uses her knee to nudge Tifa’s legs apart.

Tifa can feel her anticipation grow when she feels Aerith guide the end of the toy to press against her wet opening. 

“Let me know if you want me to stop, okay?”

Tifa looks into her girlfriend’s eyes. As always, Aerith’s face and voice are gentle and caring. Tifa feels herself relax, knowing Aerith will take care of her, and nods once.

She briefly sees Aerith’s face smile brightly above her, but she quickly squeezes her eyes shut as she feels the dildo slowly spread her entrance. 

It’s thicker than she expected, but she’s distracted by any pain she might experience when she feels Aerith’s lips against her cheek, peppering kisses all over her face, and whispering sweet nothings. 

“You’re amazing.”

“You’re doing so good, babe.”

“Just a little more.”

“Are you okay? It’s all the way in.” 

Tifa opens her eyes to see Aerith’s gaze full of concern above her. She’s holding herself up with her arms, and Tifa notices her own legs have wrapped around her girlfriend’s hips. 

She feels the toy filling her insides, producing an unfamiliar, but not unpleasant, pressure somewhere around her stomach. 

“Yeah, it’s just a little weird.”

Aerith smiles. “Hopefully it’ll feel a lot better than ‘a little weird.’”

Before Tifa can retort, Aerith shimmies her hips, and Tifa’s breath hitches as the appendage moves inside her. 

Aerith giggles and leans down to kiss her. “You’re so cute,” she praises, before experimentally drawing her hips back and pushing them back together.

Okay, Tifa definitely felt that. 

Seemingly spurred on by Tifa’s response, Aerith giggles again and pulls out further, thrusts her hips faster.

“Ohh, gods,” Tifa hears herself moan in appreciation, as she feels her own hips rise to meet Aerith’s, matching her gradually quickening pace. 

She gathers the smaller woman in her arms and holds her close. Aerith leverages this new position to press their chests together and graze her teeth along the shell of Tifa’s ear. Her hand finds its way back between them and lightly brushes against Tifa’s clit, and Tifa feels those irresistible lips quirk into a grin at the sound that escapes her throat.

Aerith finds a gentle, steady rhythm, and the moans are spilling out of Tifa uncontrollably now, as her body melts into Aerith’s, accommodating her every whim.

She feels her core tighten as the pleasure mounts. “Aerith– Aerith, I’m–”

“Let go babe, I got you.” Aerith’s voice is low and reassuring in her ear.

The sensations are overwhelming, and Tifa feels toe-curling pleasure wash over her body, escaping her in the form of a loud moan. She hopes the walls are soundproof, she considers belatedly.

She relaxes her grip on Aerith’s form and her girlfriend collapses next to her. 

Tifa’s breathless, and she can feel her heart beating loudly. “That was… wow.” 

Aerith giggles cutely in response. “Getting to see those reactions come from you? Richard was definitely a quality purchase.”

Tifa rolls her eyes and blushes. (Really though, what was the point now.) “Next time, it’s my turn.”

“Hmm, we’ll see.”

Tifa chuckles as she rolls over and pulls Aerith against her chest. Aerith hums in contentment while Tifa sprinkles kisses atop her head, and Tifa relishes in the feeling of the other woman's warmth against her.

"Hey, Tifa?"

"Hmm?"

"I love you."

Tifa can't escape the smile that graces her lips, as she nuzzles her face deeper into the other woman's neck, hugs her a little tighter. There's no doubt in her mind when she replies, "I love you."

She’ll have to thank the planet for granting another one of her wishes, she decides, as fatigue washes over her and she falls into restful sleep.

 


 

What a beautiful day, Tifa notes, gaze drifting to the window. The combination of the morning sun’s rays and water heating on the stovetop are filling Elmyra’s small kitchen with a comfortable warmth.

The day is made infinitely better by the sound of Aerith humming a tune as she makes pancakes beside her. Tifa was never too fond of the flat disks growing up (for a long time, they just reminded her of her mother), but she’ll concede that Aerith had convinced her to come around sometime in the past few years of being together.

It probably has something to do with her girlfriend's natural talent for combining spices.

Or the endearing way she cheers to herself whenever she successfully flips a pancake.

Yeah, it’s probably the latter, Tifa concludes upon watching the fist-pump that accompanies a familiar quiet cheer. 

She sees Aerith glance over at her, and oh, she’s staring again. She feels her undoubtedly already dopey grin widen when her girlfriend sends a brilliant smile her way.

Tifa steps behind Aerith and wraps her arms around her waist. 

“Hey, you. Pancakes are almost ready.”

Tifa hums in acknowledgement, then nuzzles her face into the smaller woman’s neck and inhales deeply, allowing herself to be enveloped by the familiar scent that’s uniquely Aerith. 

“You’ve gotten good at flipping those.”

“I know right? No more pancake deaths on my watch!”

They share a laugh, both recalling the numerous broken cakes that once littered their floor.

She feels Aerith lean against her and Tifa takes a moment to appreciate the woman in her arms. After everything they’d been through – all the tragedy, the ruin, the uncertainty – she still finds it unbelievable that her life has come to a state of such joy, such vivacity, such love.

The wail of the kettle interrupts her thoughts, announcing that the water it contains is now almost ready for a perfect cup of coffee. Tifa draws back and places a quick kiss on Aerith’s cheek. 

“The usual?” she asks as she removes the kettle from the heat.

“Of course!”

Contrary to popular belief, alcoholic beverages aren’t the only thing Tifa can make. She prepares the coffee and pours it into three mugs for herself, Aerith, and Elmyra.

Normally, she’d drink hers black, consuming the bitter beverage for the sole purpose of getting caffeine into her system as quickly as possible. Swayed by the warmth surrounding her today though, she decides to treat herself and adds a dollop of honey to the mug. 

Aerith prefers her drink to be more sugar than coffee, so she adds a generous spoonful of condensed milk to the second mug. (“If I’m going to drink it, I may as well enjoy it,” she had explained upon seeing the scandalized look on Tifa’s face the first time they made breakfast together.)

Elmyra, on the other hand, always takes her coffee black. Truly a woman of culture.

As if summoned by the recently prepared coffee, Elmyra opens the front door, removing dirt-caked gloves from her hands.

“Smells wonderful, dears.”

The older woman addresses both her and Aerith, and Tifa feels herself flush. She’s still acclimating to the maternal affection Elmyra casually extends to her. 

Aerith floats past her carrying a tall stack of steaming pancakes. “Perfect timing! We just finished preparing breakfast.”

Tifa follows her girlfriend to the dining table and carefully places each mug in front of their respective seats.

“How’s the garden?” Tifa asks conversationally as they sit around the table.

Elmyra takes an appreciative sip of coffee before responding, much to Tifa’s satisfaction. “The harvest is plentiful, and there should be plenty of crops for you girls to take to the Leaf House this afternoon. I already prepared a wagon for you.”

“Mom! You didn’t have to do that,” Aerith says while pouring syrup over her plate.

“I know you said you’d take care of it after breakfast. But now you girls can leave earlier and spend more time out in town.”

Aerith looks like she’s about to retort, but Elmyra continues, “Besides, ever since Shinra fell and the mako has started to return to the planet, it’s gotten so much easier to grow much more than just flowers. It’s rewarding, and we may as well share our pickings with the children.”

Aerith sighs, her fiery look softening at Elmyra’s remark. “That’s true. I’m glad you’ve been enjoying the garden! Thanks, Mom.”

Elmyra chuckles. “Thank Tifa for sharing tips for growing vegetables. It’s a little different from growing flowers, so I wouldn’t have known where to start otherwise.”

Tifa ducks her head in embarassment. “It’s just what I can remember from when I’d help my mother with her garden back in Nibelheim. I wasn’t sure it would translate since it’s so mountainous there, but I’m glad it worked out.”

“Oh, Tifa. Always so modest.” Aerith’s voice is playful, and Tifa feels a familiar warmth in her chest upon meeting Aerith’s fond gaze. 

They spend the rest of the meal discussing more garden tips and plans for the day.

After quickly washing the dishes and cleaning up a bit, the couple find themselves on their way to the Leaf House tugging a wagon full of freshly picked fruits and vegetables. As Elmyra promised, there’s an assortment of neatly placed produce, from a bag full of radishes to a couple heads of lettuce and a few bunches of broccoli. 

It’s a short walk from the charming home to the orphanage, made to feel even shorter by the way Aerith enthusiastically details her plans for the produce kept for themselves. 

“I’ve always wanted to try fresh squeezed orange juice! And remember the cherry pie we had in Kalm?” 

Tifa nods, chuckling at the memory. “Cloud couldn’t even finish it because it was so sweet.”

“Oh, that’s right! Though I, for one, thought it was delicious.”

“I’m pretty sure you ate three-quarters of the entire pie and had a stomach ache afterward,” Tifa reminds her good-naturedly.

“You could tell?”

Tifa can’t help but laugh at the astonished look on Aerith’s face. “I’m fairly certain we all could. You could barely move after that.”

Aerith shakes her head, but there’s a teasing grin on her face. “And here I thought I did such a good job of hiding my misery. Anyways, that just goes to show how delicious it was!”  Her eyes shine brightly, recalling the dessert. “I suppose we can make one that isn’t quite as sweet so Cloud can actually eat some though.”

Tifa laughs as she responds, “I’m sure he’d appreciate that.”

They round the bend and a group of kids comes into view.  “Aerith! Tifa!” they collectively exclaim and scramble over upon noticing the two women. 

“Hey, guys! How are you all doing today?” Aerith greets as Tifa smiles at them.

One of the kids, Oliver, responds, “Great! We decided to practice what we learned from last week’s brawling class and chased away a pack of Wererats from the Graveyard today. Hopefully now it’ll be safe enough for everyone to go visit again.”

The other kids nod around him. Tifa’s about to comment on how much stronger they’ve gotten, but Oliver quickly changes the subject. “What’s that?” he asks, pointing to the wagon.

Aerith grins. “We brought veggies for you!”

Looks of confusion and disgust appear on each of their faces, and Tifa briefly wonders what they’ve been eating up until now. One boy who looks particularly repulsed speaks up. “Ewwww! Vegetables are gross!”

This causes the other kids to start to voice their distaste for the green foods, but before they can get too riled up, Aerith interrupts. “Hey now. They’re healthy for you.”

“You know, they’ll help you get strong. Maybe even stronger than Cloud,” Tifa chimes in, backing up her girlfriend.

This gets their attention, and they eye her warily. One of the kids slowly asks, “What about you?”

Tifa chuckles. “Eat a lot of vegetables and keep attending our lessons, and you just might get stronger than me.”

They each seem to contemplate the truth to her words for a moment, but slowly they come around with curt nods and reluctant “okays.”

She smiles and glances at her girlfriend, who’s looking at her with appreciation. Tifa nods, silently signalling that the other woman can take the lead.

Aerith gets the cue. “Where’s Miss Folia?”

One of the kids pipes up, “She’s inside! I’ll go get her for you!” then runs off before they can object.

The group walks leisurely to the entrance of the Leaf House as the remaining kids tell them more about their battle with the Wererat. 

Once again, Tifa takes pride in how much they’ve grown as fighters since she started giving them lessons sometime last year. She wasn’t able to make them as formal or comprehensive as an official martial arts apprenticeship, but she figured she could at least teach them the basics to help them defend themselves from the monsters that still roam the slums.

The group soon reaches the entrance where Folia is waiting for them.

“Ms. Folia! Aerith and Tifa brought us vegetables!” Oliver announces.

Folia gasps in surprise at this statement, glancing the wagon full of produce. The excitement is evident in her voice as she exclaims, “Where did you get all that?”

“Tifa taught me and Mom how to tend a vegetable garden,” Aerith boasts. “It’s not much, but we wanted to share our first harvest with you and the kids.”

Folia’s eyes widen and she quickly waves her hands. “That’s so generous of you! But it’s so much; when you said you were planning to bring vegetables, I thought you meant like a carrot or two! We couldn’t possibly accept such a generous offering.”

Aerith just smiles softly at her modesty. “Please, take it. We’re more than happy to share, and this is too much for just us. Besides, I’m sure it’s not easy finding enough healthy food when you have a dozen growing mouths to feed.”

Most of the kids had run off by now, but one who stayed behind speaks up, “We need them to become stronger than Tifa!”

Folia stares at him blankly for a moment, not expecting the child to be so enthusiastic about eating vegetables. Her gaze flits to Tifa before smiling back at the boy. “Is that so? We’ll have to make sure you get a lot of veggies in you, then.”

The kid nods his head vigorously then runs off to tell the others about Folia’s endorsement of their plan.

Folia turns her attention back to the other two women. “Thank you both so much. We can take some of what you brought, but it’s more than we can accept right now. I’m sure other people around town would be grateful for some fresh produce as well.”

Aerith nods, accepting this compromise. “Of course! We’ll be back before long with more anyways.” She’s never one to pass up an opportunity to help more people, Tifa thinks affectionately.

So after they unload about half of the wagon, they say their goodbyes and continue through the slums.

They pass out their produce to everyone they meet. A handful of radishes here, a few oranges there, leaving a trail of smiles and gratitude behind them. 

Eventually, Tifa finds herself standing next to an empty wagon. It’s been a couple hours since they left Aerith’s house, leaving them with plenty of time left in the day.

For now though, Aerith is giving the last head of broccoli to an older man. She can’t hear their conversation from her spot across the street, but she watches with fondness as Aerith laughs in response to something he said. She proceeds to gesture towards Tifa, who smiles and waves when they both look her way.

After they exchange a few more words, Aerith waves goodbye and gracefully bounds back over to Tifa with a beaming smile.

“Hey Tifa, do you want to know what I’ve been wishing for at 11:11 recently?”

Tifa smiles, thoughts flickering to her own nightly wishes and how they’ve somehow come true despite her initial doubts. If she recalled correctly though– “I thought the wishes wouldn’t come true if you tell them to other people?”

Aerith folds her hands behind her back and ducks her head. “Well, I kinda need more than just the planet’s help for this wish.” 

Her uncharacteristically shy tone and stance catch Tifa’s attention. “Hm? Whose help do you need? What’s the wish?”

Aerith looks up and holds her gaze for a moment. Tifa cocks her head in confusion, but suddenly the other woman smiles and nods as though making up her mind about something. She takes a deep breath and clasps Tifa’s hands in her own. 

“Well, I want to be able to point at you on the street and tell people, ‘That’s my wife!’ Will you help fulfill my wish, and make me the happiest person on the planet?”

Tifa’s eyes widen as her brain processes Aerith’s words. Did she just… propose? As in, marriage, propose?

Suddenly her heart is pounding in her chest. Aerith is looking at her in anticipation, emerald eyes never leaving her own, and Tifa already knows her answer – has deep in her heart always known her answer since even before their first kiss.

As if she was even capable of saying “no” to the woman before her.

She smirks, and Aerith instinctively smiles in response before Tifa responds playfully, “The wish thing, I’d be thrilled to help with. But I’m pretty sure that title of ‘happiest person’ already belongs to me.” 

Aerith giggles, falling into Tifa’s arms, and she can’t help but laugh along. 

Happiness threatens to explode from her chest as she draws Aerith in for a kiss, filled with wide smiles and laughter and tears. Like the rest of their relationship so far, this moment is messy and beautiful and so full of love, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.

She may not know what the future holds, but as long as she's with Aerith (and maybe with a little help from the planet), she knows they'll be okay.