Unbeta'd because of the looming deadline.
god put a song on my palm
FF7 || PG-13 - some sexuality || Tifa/Aeris || 1,850 words
Prompt: Tifa/Aeris, work-worn hands.
- For the yuri_challenge , posted here; alternately, my own (new) DW.
- Slight fusion with SPN, but you don't really need to know it to read this; pretend it's a real-life!AU.
- The "Jesse" here is from the beginning of FF7.
Tifa leaned against the porch railing and watched the long afternoon shadows streaking the lawn blue and purple between shafts of sunlight. The Tennessee air was thick with humidity and the drone of cicadas, quiet except for the low murmur of voices from the other side of the door. She let the railing take more of her weight as the heat soothed the ache in her limbs.
The shadows had shifted about an inch by the time the door banged open, the old screen rattling as it bounced off the side of the small house, and a young woman came striding out with a straight back and a sharp look in her eye. Tifa arched a brow as the woman gave her a dismissive once-over and got into a fire-red Accura. When the Accura pealed out, it left a spray of dust over Tifa’s already filthy Toyota truck.
The coolness inside the house was a wall of relief from the heat, followed immediately by the smell of freshly burned incense and crushed herbs. “On the counter,” Aeris called from the sunroom, and Tifa smiled wryly as she clomped into the kitchen and found an ice-pack wrapped in a towel beside a small, unlabeled glass jar.
She’d sat down at the kitchen table with the ice-pack on her knuckles by the time Aeris appeared from the back of the house, hair tied neatly back and a wide smile on her lovely face, and for a moment Tifa was intensely self-conscious of her dirty boots and the dried sweat on her neck and the tangle that her ponytail had become. The scent of leather, metal, and grass had followed her in.
“Stop that,” Aeris told her, then plucked the cowboy hat off Tifa’s head, dropped it on the table, and unashamedly hiked up her pink sundress to straddle Tifa’s lap. Tifa oomphed, had to drop the ice-pack and grab her hips to balance them in the chair, while Aeris’ crystal marble necklace swung on its ribbon cord. Tired as Tifa was, it was somewhat distracting. “Don’t think I don’t know when you’re being hard on yourself.”
“I didn’t say no word,” said Tifa, but she was smiling because the kitchen was lit by the soft glow of a sunset and there was a Santana record playing somewhere in the house and Aeris herself was in the cradle of Tifa’s lap. What else did she need?
“To be more careful, for one,” Aeris said dryly, though Tifa hadn’t spoken aloud, and she picked up the small jar. It was half-filled with a pale waxy balm that smelled like rosemary, pine bark, and God (“Goddess,” Aeris corrected her) knew what else. Tifa didn’t understand half the things that Aeris made with skilled practiced hands, just knew that they worked and that was enough.
“I got that book you wanted,” Tifa said as Aeris took one of her bruised hands and started massaging the cream into it. “It’s out in the truck. And Pamela was Pamela, as usual.”
“I’m glad to hear that she’s come to terms with Jesse running away to join that environmentalist group in Burma.”
“Mmm,” Tifa replied, not asking how Aeris had guessed that. Aeris’ hands were soft, pale and long-fingered, but the beds under her short nails were stained a few shades darker from whatever potions or tinctures she’d been making from the herbs in the garden. She watched the slender tendons flex, the way Aeris moved them with the careful deliberation of a pianist even though she couldn’t play an instrument to save her life. When Aeris reached for the jar again, Tifa could see the same herb-brown color staining the creases of her palm.
“Looks like your gloves are wearing thin,” said Aeris, glancing pointedly at the bruises spilled over the peaks of Tifa’s knuckles. Tifa glanced at them disinterestedly. They were large and knobby from years of fist-fighting, an old scar across one from some asshole who’d tried to assault her outside a bar (and to whom, summarily, she gave a permanent limp). There were odd calluses from the grip of a shotgun, a machete, an iron crowbar, because you never knew what a case would demand while hunting. Her nails were blunt and dirt seemed permanently ground into the lines of her own palms.
“I’ll call up Cloud, see if he knows anyone in the business that can make a new pair. I kinda liked the steel guards on the last ones.” She luxuriated in the feel of Aeris’ strong fingers pressing firmly into her skin for few moments. “So, what was with your customer?” Tifa had never known there were so many different types of people until Aeris had set up shop as an ‘alternative healer’ and people from seemingly every corner of the country started showing up.
“Doctor-patient confidentiality,” said Aeris sternly, then grinned wickedly. “Love spell, would you believe it. Because those always turn out well.”
“She didn’t seem the type to have truck with that sorta thing.”
“Ambitious person always used to getting what they want without getting their hands dirty?”
“So to speak,” Tifa smiled, wrapping her free arm around Aeris’ waist and pulling her closer, leaning forward to press her lips against the warm skin just above the sundress’ neckline. The round crystal was cool against the side of her cheek. Aeris huffed and wriggled a little and said, if a little breathlessly, “Hold still, I want to finish with your poor knuckles first. What did you do, punch a headstone and not even bring me back a few rib bones?”
“The next time I’m neck-deep in a grave, I’ll grab you some rib bones.”
“Thank you. I hope Pamela didn’t give you much trouble, I had to fast-talk like you wouldn’t believe to make her part with that thing.”
“No more than expected,” Tifa said wryly, words muffled by Aeris’ collarbone. She wasn’t even entirely sure she wanted to know what 'it' was, wrapped as it was in dark red leather and stained suspiciously along one edge. Tifa was more the type to shoot first, ask questions later rather than mess around with such things.
“I hope I don’t have to worry about her sweeping you away.”
Though Aeris was only teasing, Tifa tangled her fingers with Aeris’ messy ones and leaned up for a kiss, biting at her bottom lip and licking along the edge of her teeth. “I should be more worried about her sweeping you away,” she murmured into the narrow space between their lips, couldn’t help the spike of jealousy when she considered Pamela’s sly smile and utter confidence, the tight jeans and rocker baby-doll shirts…
“I told you to stop that.” Aeris poked Tifa in the side where her white tank slid up above the waist of her skirt, showing off a strip of tanned skin. “Two psychics in the same house together? That’s just begging for it.”
Those last three words were said in a lower tone, nearly a purr, and Tifa felt her lower belly tighten. The sundress was soft under her hands, scrunching up between her fingers over the curve of Aeris’ hips. Bare thighs were already spread on either side of her, a wide smile and soft green eyes just for her, and Aeris leaned forward to slide her arms around Tifa’s shoulders and put her lips to her ear.
“Tifa,” she whispered, “I wish I could show you what I see.”
“I don’t think I’d make a good psychic,” she replied dryly, but Aeris just huffed again and went on, “If you could see what I do when I look at you, you’d know that there’s nothing that would make me not want you. Even if I have to use too many double negatives.”
Tifa flushed, wasn’t the sort of person who said those kinds of things. The words always came out too clumsy and inadequate, barely made it out of her mouth without collapsing under their own weight, but somehow Aeris could make them flow in such a way that they didn’t sound like a Hallmark card. (Maybe it was a West Coast hippie thing, but Tifa wouldn’t know, didn’t tend to leave the Southern states very often. And there she went, finding excuses to slip away from Aeris’ open affection because – because why would – well.)
Sometimes it was annoying living with a psychic that could feel things. Aeris said, “I love your hair,” and ran a hand through it, tugging out the band and letting it fall in an unbrushed, unwashed mess; that Blood Fang on the way back from Illinois had been a particularly stubborn sonuvabitch. She said, “I love your neck,” and ran her tongue up the length of the tendon, paused to suddenly suck hard on the thumping pulse. Lips quirking, she said, “I love your breasts,” and drew her palms over the generous curves to the heavy undersides. Tifa arched her back into the touch unconsciously, let out a small breath, tilted her head back and looked up at the sun-lit ceiling. Aeris said, “I love your arms,” and stroked down the muscled length of Tifa’s limbs with her still-sticky fingers, ran her nails on the delicate skin in the bend of her elbows. Tifa shivered and tightened her grip on Aeris’ hips, the bite of pain in her bruised and aching knuckles adding a sharp edge.
“I love your legs,” Aeris continued. She nipped the wing of Tifa’s collarbone as she firmly pressed her bare thighs along Tifa’s, strong muscle and soft skin trapping her in the chair. Sliding down Tifa’s forearms, she took Tifa’s hands in hers and lifted them between their faces, pressing small kisses to rough tanned skin and abused fingers. The smell of rosemary balm made the air heavy. She said, “I love your hands,” and turned over the right one, tracing the deeply-scored creases: heart line, life line, fate line; mound of Venus, mound of Mars, and that was the extent of palmistry Tifa had managed to glean from watching Aeris at work. Aeris’ fingertips were light as her whispers in Tifa’s ear, you can’t claim to know a man if you don’t know what his hands look like she always said with an unreadable smile, and those light touches over the hardness of calluses and the softer skin in the very center of her palm sent warmth curling through Tifa’s thighs.
“Ain’t too sure what to say about that,” Tifa murmured, but Aeris just said, “You’re not supposed to, silly, you just accept it,” and leaned forward to kiss her, lips parted with a hint of tongue and hands pressed between their chests.