Length: 3119 words (according to Mircosoft Word)
She had to admit she didn't exactly like the rain. There was something about it that made her damp down to her bones even when she was sitting inside of her room and not out in it. The coldness lingered, clinging to her bones like some kind of a creepy cloak. No matter what warmth she searched for, whether it was sitting by a fire, turning up the heat, wearing a warm sweater, or even cuddling underneath a bundle of blankets, the rain seemed to seep into her skin and cling to her like a bad dream.
Her hatred of rain began when she was a small child. She had been out in the rain, trying to hide from her parents. She was mad at them for something that she would now that she was more mature probably find ridiculous. They had probably refused to buy her something she had desired or would not let her go somewhere she wanted, something of the sort. Nothing that would require her putting herself in the position to become ill, but to any small child it must have meant the world.
She was sure when she went outside that her parents would find her rather quickly. They would be cross with her, she knew, but they would also be too worried to scold her and if she was lucky they may even do what she had wanted them to do.
But her parents hadn't gone looking for her right away.
As a matter of fact they didn't look for her at all. Later she would realize they weren't being cruel or neglectful, but that they figured she was hiding in the house, but when she was little she felt like they hated her. She stayed outside in the rain for two straight hours waiting for her parents to come and scoop her up into their arms, but they never came.
She ended up stuck inside the house for the next week with a horrible case of the flu. She hated the rain ever since.
She tucked her knees beneath her chin, gazing out at the rain as it fell in heavy sheets. The scrap of metal she had managed to hide under did only one thing; kept her from getting wet. The cold however she had to deal with.
"Can you stop that?"
She turned her head ever so slightly to gaze at her companion. "Stop what?"
"The fucking pouting. Its getting old."
Her eyes narrowed. "I am not pouting."
"You are going to get frown lines if you keep pouting as much as you are."
"I am not pouting."
"Then what do you call it?"
"Try not to hurt yourself."
That infuriating smile was enough to make her want to punch him right in the nose. Yes, that would be perfect. Break his nose and let him frown for a while so he couldn't say anything to her about how she was acting. "I hate you."
"Nah, you love me. You just don't want to admit it."
'You have no idea,' he thought bitterly.
Reno hated to admit it but since he had met this girl there had been a certain attraction he always felt around her. The bickering, he mused, was part of her charm. She didn't seem to know how to be around him without fighting with him. He knew he wasn't an innocent party but that he rose to the occasion. Hell, half of the time he started the fights, but that was only because he found her so damn cute when her cheeks were flushed with frustration. "What's there to be pouting about anyway? Its just rain. It ain't like its gonna kill you."
"I hate the rain."
"Why the hell do you hate the rain?"
"What do you care?"
The redhead shrugged carelessly. "Don't really. I just figured we may be stuck here for a while, so why not talk."
"Because you could annoy the dead back into life."
"That makes no sense."
"Can you just leave me alone?"
"Can you stop pouting?"
"I told you I'm not pouting!"
"You're doing it right now!"
"I am not!"
She stood up rather fast, neglecting to remember that the metal wasn't as tall as she was and smacked her head hard. She hissed, grabbing her wounded noggin. "Damn it! This is why I hate you! You always make me feel like a complete idiot."
"If the shoe fits."
"Did you just call me an idiot?"
"You called yourself one first!"
"I'm allowed to call myself an idiot. You aren't allowed to call me one."
"So I'm not allowed to agree with you?"
"Not about this!"
"Then you shouldn't have said it."
"You are the most annoying person in the world."
"My dear, I think you give me a run for my money in that one."
She folded her arms across her chest, turning away from him. He made her so angry! He was so cocky and rude that she just wanted to knock him out until the rain stopped. Still, it would be pretty boring to be sitting there by herself while he was lying there unconscious. "Do you always have to be such a smart ass?"
"Its part of my charm." He lifted a hand as if to say it was out of his control. "You love it and you know you do."
"About as much as I would love to have my tongue cut out."
"That much, huh?"
"Don't you know sarcasm when you hear it?"
"Of course I do. Its one of my specialties."
"Then take a hint and realize I was being sarcastic."
"So you do love it then?" He had one of those triumphant smiles on his face.
"Wh-no! You're putting words into my mouth!"
"No I'm not! You said you were being sarcastic so that means you enjoy it more than you would getting your tongue cut out. Since you wouldn't enjoy that, it only makes sense to conclude that you enjoy my sarcasm."
"Well I don't."
"Could have fooled me."
"With a brain as small as yours that wouldn't be hard."
"Ouch, that hurt."
He watched her profile for a moment. She really seemed to be miserable in the rain. She was shivering. "Are you cold?"
She cast him an annoyed glance. "Gee, whatever gave you that idea?"
He motioned towards her, holding out his hand. "Come here."
"Do you have to be so suspicious?"
He sighed in frustration, putting his hand back in his lap. He leaned forward, narrowing his eyes at her. "I'm not going to ravish you if that's what you think," he told her rather annoyed. "Wouldn't waste my time."
"You're a jerk."
"Why? Would you want me to ravish you?"
"No!" She looked horrified. "You're just a jerk for even saying something like that."
"The point remains you don't have to look at me like I just grabbed your ass."
"Wouldn't put it past someone like you."
"Once again, ouch. Got your claws out, don't you?"
"I told you I hate the rain."
"Well don't take that out on me."
"I don't like you either so it fits."
"And the hits just keep on coming." He sighed, leaning back on the floor so his elbows were propping him up. Tilting his head to the side he gave her his best quizzical look. "Why do we do this?"
"Rip each other's throats out."
"Because that's what we do. You annoy me, I annoy you, and so we fight."
"You don't annoy me."
The girl's eyes widened. "What?"
"I said you don't annoy me."
"Wow! Never knew you had such a mouth on you!"
"Only when people spout crap."
"I'm not," he told her earnestly. "You really don't annoy me. You hurt my feelings at every turn, but you don't annoy me."
"You have feelings?"
"See! That's exactly what I'm talking about! You act like we're enemies!"
"Well we aren't friends."
"I like to think we are." He seemed terribly hurt by her words.
Tifa gazed at the Turk. He considered them friends? Where did that come from? To her knowledge she never gave him any indication that they were. True, they weren't enemies anymore, but friends? Surely not. "You're crazier than I thought."
He smiled. "Again, that's part of my charm."
"Oh, sure. Sarcasm, crazy, cocky, a jerk, foul mouthed. Yeah, you're a real catch."
"Glad you noticed."
"You can really be so immature at times."
"At least I'm not pouting about the rain."
"For the last time I am not pouting!"
"For the last time you are!" He sighed falling back against the ground. "I don't get you! For being such a smart girl I can't get how you can say you're not pouting when that's all you've done since we got stuck here! I swear your face is going to get stuck like that!"
"You sound like my dad!"
"Well maybe he's right!"
She turned away from him with a huff. "Why do you enjoy getting me angry?"
"Because its so easy."
"Only when I'm around you."
"Maybe its because you love me and you just don't want to admit it."
A scoff. "Hardly."
"Then how do you explain it?"
"I-uh...well...well, I can't, but that's not the point."
He was gazing at her with a cheeky smile on his face. "You're still shivering."
"That's because I'm still cold."
"Then get over here."
"What?" She spun to look at him. "Are you crazy?"
"Once again, I am not trying to ravish you. Give me more credit than that. Its just you're cold and you will warm up if you and I share body heat. Its makes sense."
"That would mean touching you."
"It won't kill you."
"Don't want to take any chances."
"Tifa." He sighed. "Look, can you just be reasonable for one minute. You're cold, it makes sense, now get over here."
"Do not make me come over there."
"Leave me alone."
"Fine, you asked for it." He rolled his shoulders so he was sitting up. "Last chance."
Slowly and leisurely Reno made his way over across the space between them and planted himself next to her. She scurried away, trying to get as far away from him as she could without being back in the rain. "Tifa, stop acting like a baby."
"Coming from the most childish person I know."
He sighed. "Damn it, you can never make anything easy." He reached out grabbing the back of her shirt and yanked hard pulling her back against him. She squirmed as he placed him arms tightly around her torso. "Just sit still and you'll get warm in no time."
"Let me go."
"I'll beat the crap out of you. You know that."
"When the rain stops you have plenty of time to do that. Hell, I'll even give ya a free shot, but for now just shut up and keep still. I'm not about to watch you freeze to death just because you're stubborn."
Tifa craned her head to she was looking over her shoulder at him and into his blue eyes. "I can't believe it! You're actually worried about me!"
"Why do you think I've been telling you to get your ass over here?"
"To be bossy and an asshole!"
His lip curled. "Damn you have a low opinion of me."
Tifa didn't answer. She turned away from his intense gaze. She couldn't believe it. He was worried about her. He was worried about her! Reno! Worried about her! It just didn't make any sense! "Only sometimes," she said quietly.
"Wow, Tif, that was almost a compliment. Watch out now. I may start to think you really are in love with me."
Despite herself she laughed. "You are such a jerk."
"Maybe, but I amuse you."
"From time to time," she conceded.
"Wow, that was two almost compliments in two minutes. I'm on a roll here."
"Don't get used to it," she warned, turning to look at him again. "Because when we get out of here I am going to beat you until you're unconscious."
He smiled a little too brightly for her taste. "Wouldn't expect anything less from you Tifa. Now would you relax a little? Your tension is making this really uncomfortable."
"How do you think I feel? I'm stuck between your legs-er, that came out wrong."
She could feel his body shake with laughter. "Nice wording."
"You know what I mean!"
"Of course I do," he assured her. "But that was some lovely phrasing there. Just relax. We'll both be more comfortable."
She gave in. It was no use fighting with him. And he had been right this was warmer. She took a breath, let it out slowly and tried to relax, though it was hard feeling as uneasy as she was just then. This was one of the most awkward positions she had been put in for some time now. "Hey, Reno?"
"What the hell were you doing out here anyway?"
He chuckled slightly, arching an eyebrow, silently asking himself how to explain this. "Came to find you actually."
"Yuffie was looking for you. I told her I'd help."
She just kept looking at him. "Why?"
"Why was she looking for me?"
"How should I know?"
"You didn't ask?"
"Why would I? Yuffie's your friend, she wanted to find you, I offered to help. It makes sense when you think about it."
"Can't you ever stop over analyzing things?"
"I'm not, I just...oh, hell, I don't know." She bit her lip thinking hard.
"Thinking of Cloud?"
"What? Why would you think that?"
"Because you always do."
"I worry about him. Is that so wrong?"
"Worry my ass. You're in love with him."
Her body tensed up again. "What?"
"You're in love with Cloud."
Her mouth twisted into a scowl. "How the hell you would know anything about it?"
"You aren't subtle."
"Well for your information I'm not."
"Yeah, sure, and I'm really Rufus ShinRa in disguise."
"Well in that case, get the hell out of my shelter Rufus."
Reno's blue eyes widened. "Shit, your serious."
"I told you!"
She shrugged awkwardly. "A while I guess. I mean, yeah I liked him, but...I think it was kind of a child's crush, you know? Like when you know someone for long enough you feel like you have romantic feelings for them when you don't. You know what I mean?"
"Nope, can't say that I do. Never felt that myself."
"Oh, what good are you?"
"Um, Tif, you weren't asking for advice."
"That's not what I meant."
"That's how it sounded."
She reached down and pinched him hard. "Stop being a brat!"
"Ouch! Damn it that hurt!"
"Tifa you would do well to remember I am in a position to crush your sides."
"You wouldn't dare."
"You never know."
She jabbed him in the ribs. "Can you grow up?"
"If you don't like Cloud then who do you like?"
"Where did that come from?"
"Just answer the question. I mean you do like someone, don't you?"
"Yes! I mean no! I mean it’s none of your business!"
His entire body shook as he chuckled. "You do! Who?"
"I never said I did, and even if I did I wouldn't tell you!"
"Actually you did say you liked someone!"
"That's not what I meant and you know it." She folded her arms in a huff, her elbows pressing into his arms. "What about you? Do you like someone?"
Tifa spun around slightly in his arms, her torso twisting in an awkward angle. "You do?"
"Don't sound so surprised. I am human after all."
"You don't always act like it."
"Retract the claws."
"Sorry, but I mean I never pictured you as the kind of guy to have a crush."
"I hate that term."
"Okay, the kind of guy to really like a girl."
"You don't know everything about me, you know."
"Apparently. So, who is she?"
"Tell me who you like and I'll tell you who I like."
"Not a chance."
"Then I'm not telling you either." There was a short silence. "Still cold?"
"Is the body heat helping?"
"So I was right?" He was smiling again.
"Admit it. Say 'Reno, you were right and I'm sorry'. Go ahead, say it."
"I said to shut up."
"Just say it."
"Fine. Reno you were right and I'm sorry. There, happy?"
"You are so infuriating."
"Look who's talking!"
"You are you big idiot!"
"I-" He gazed down at her, eyes wide. "Damn you got me."
"First time tonight."
"I hate you."
"You make me want to kill you, you really do."
"Tifa, shut up."
"I will not!"
"Just shut up!"
"I'll make you!"
"I'd love to see you try!"
Reno dipped his head down quickly, pressing his lips harshly against her. He pulled away gazing down into Tifa's wide eyes and listened to her sputtering. A cocky smile spread across his face. "Made you shut up!"
"You arrogant little jerk!"
"The rain is stopping."
Tifa gazed out beyond their shelter. The rain was in fact stopping. "Finally!"
"I'm getting the feeling you don't like me being here with you."
"And another hit to my self-esteem. Keep this up and I'll be locking myself in my room all day crying my eyes out."
Tifa sighed, pulling at his arms. "Can you let me go? Its dry enough for us to get out of here now."
Slowly, almost reluctantly, Reno let her go.
Tifa crawled out of the shelter, stepping out into the now sunny sky. She stood up, stretching her body out. It felt so good to be able to stand again. Her muscles had been cramping sitting under the shelter so badly that she was sure she was going to fall over.
Reno stepped out behind her, tilting his head to look at her. "Prison sentence is over I guess."
"Couldn't be more pleased."
That cocky smile returned. "Remember that question you asked me?"
"About who I liked?"
"Yeah, what about it?"
Reno grabbed her chin in one hand, leaning down and pressing his lips against hers quickly. "I'm looking at her." He spun away from her quickly, starting down the street. He raised a hand and half waved to her. "See ya around Tif."
She watched the redhead walk away, raising a hand to her lips. Damn he was so cocky!
She would never admit that secretly she liked him too.