Fandom: Final Fantasy VII
Pairing: Aeris / Tifa
Spoilers: End of Disc 1
Author's Note: My first Yuri, my first drabble.
Tifa took reading for granted. It was only in Kalm, when Aeris had trouble finding the Inn, that she had even considered that most slumlings were illiterate. The statistic itself wasn't a huge shocker, but Aeris? She held herself like a noblewoman. Like an Ancient. Like a mayor's daughter. Unlike a slumling.
The nights on the Grasslands were the first nights that she took it upon herself to educate Aeris. She imposed that it was unbefitting of a lady to be illiterate, and she must learn in secret. It was a lovely idea for a game - to take the weight off of the daytime's troubles. The gentle valley winds would blow through the curtains of the girls' tent and fan the tiny flame that Tifa had magicked into midair, between their sleepy faces. A small ball of warm light that safely illuminated the parchment between them. Tifa would write out the alphabet and then phonetic compounds, circling the vowels and gently drilling Aeris on how to pronounce the letters.
Junon was less than a day's walk when Aeris excitedly began to attempt to spell words she knew how to say. Her spoken vocabulary had always been surprisingly rich, and Tifa smiled when she would correctly spell 'monolith' or 'continent' or 'indelible'. And then she would misspell 'balloon' or 'chocobo' and they would collapse in their bedrolls laughing.
Tifa devoted most nights on the West Continent to punctuation - mostly because she had a hard time remembering herself. During her childhood punctuation lessons, she had been more interested in learning martial arts. After all, she had reasoned, monsters respond better to kicks than quills. It was only when the Nibelheim library burned before her eyes that she realized that a world without language was as good as flames.
And so the mountains and deserts of Corel, the Valley of the Fallen Star, and the Gongagan Jungles were devoted to commas, periods, and dashes. Aeris had started to use her curative magic to fix their exhaustion in the days, and to give them energy in the night. Tifa had felt uncomfortable at first - alone in the tent with Aeris, waves of curative euphoria quickening their heartrates, eyelids fluttering and the occasional lingering tingling that distracted Tifa from her lessons in proper semicolon use. As the nights went on, and the intensity of those moments grew, she stopped caring if people saw into the tent. Stopped caring if Aeris heard her small gasps as the cure spells passed through her body. She would sometimes watch as Aeris cured her own sleepiness with her glowing green materia - watch as the sparkling green embers passed over her pajama'd breasts, hardening the nipples underneath. She would shake her head and say that her thoughts were a symptom of the spell, and the lessons would continue, the glowing flame between their faces illuminating dreamy smiles.
As they approached Nibelheim, Tifa explained that calligraphy was what made words words - beyond a mere organization of letters and ideas. Aeris would clumsily try and beautify her elementary scrawl, and then Tifa would move behind her and guide Aeris' hand with hers. And then Aeris would smirk and cast a curative spell, and all hands and all eyes would abandon the parchment for the evening.
Wutai was horrible. No fire spells to facilitate writing lessons. No curative spells to justify the urges of the night. It was dark and lonely. Exclaimed Tifa when Yuffie had snatched their materia: "I'll never forgive her."
When the crystals were back with their owners, resuming their secret evening activities was as uncomfortable as it had been the first time Aeris' cure spell had worked its way between her thighs. Filled with uncertainty and nervous smiling. The night at the Gold Saucer, Aeris had gotten dressed and gone off to find Cloud; Tifa watched the paper moon outside her window as paper bats floated past. Aeris came in late with a smile Tifa recognized. She pretended to be asleep.
At the lake, Tifa held ripped pieces of parchment in her hands. Why had she ripped them up so immediately after Aeris had run away? She had been alone in the Gongagan hut, reading the word 'chokobo' over and over again until she ripped up the months of literary progress. She had toted the torn pieces in her pack for reasons unknown to her. Now, she would give anything to undo that night of tearing. Cloud lowered Aeris into the lake. The paper in Tifa's hands felt on fire, and she dropped the burning library of their history into the water. The pages were wet anyway. The water of the lake blurred and smeared the ink and the strange, magic gravity of the lake pulled all things down into the depths of wordless silence.