Breon saw them first, having the advantage of a wider field of vision, but Tifa wasn't far behind. Even in that confusion of harried passersby and baggage carts, the few daemons bigger than a dog commanded bubbles of free space. Tifa knew the trick; not a lot of people could get away with pretending they hadn't seen Breon in time to avoid brushing against him when his head was about level with theirs and his antlers reached up and flared to the sides like an inside-out umbrella.
The cat wasn't as big as Breon was -- she would have reached maybe mid-thigh on Tifa -- but the length of her sinuous body and trailing tail claimed an even longer empty space in the crowd. She stood motionless with her person, forcing people and their daemons to dodge, swearing. Neither of them seemed to notice.
"I wonder what they're doing," Tifa mused, but she kept walking upstream because she had errands to run, just on the other side of the train station, and they weren't going to wait until after rush hour.
The man was so blond, though. The image stayed in her mind, he and his cat standing there like rocks in a stream.
When she came out from the shop, a crate of beer in her hands, another two strung together, balanced over Breon's spine, they were still there, the man and his sleek, dun-colored cat. Her strange dragon-whiskers floated behind her like ribbons in the wind.
There was something worrying about the two of them, the way they didn't search the crowd for a late friend, or -- "They're not even looking at each other," she said when she noticed. Breon grunted an acknowledgement, and started picking his way across the paved street, hoof after neatly placed hoof, not a movement wasted. After a moment of surprise Tifa jogged after him, embarrassed, the heavy crate bumping her thighs. "I didn't say I wanted to --" she whispered urgently, but he flicked a long, velvety ear her way and she sighed, giving in. She hadn't said, but then again she didn't need to say anything, not to him.
She steadied the crates as he climbed on the platform, and followed, drawing even with him as they reached the blond man and his cat.
"Um, hello? I was wondering if you needed some help?"
He turned his head to look at her and she couldn't keep her gasp between her teeth.
He was older and his cheeks thinner -- and he looked like he hadn't slept in a couple of days, his clothes creased and mud-splattered at the knee, and his face was so blank compared to the intensity she remembered it had held in their last meeting. But there was no mistaking it.
"Cloud? You -- Cloud!" She started smiling, hesitant. "It's me, Tifa, do you remember? Tifa Lockhart, and Breon -- oh, it's nice to see you." There were so few survivors from Nibelheim, Johnny and Master Zangan and so few others. To find another of her old neighbors alive after so long...
"Tifa," Cloud's daemon repeated. She broke eye contact with Cloud, blinked down at the cat, at the tone -- thoughtful. Blank, too.
"Hello to you too. You're Skylar, right? You hadn't settled on a shape last I saw you; you're beautiful."
Cloud's expression shifted then, a frown and a blink. He shook himself, just barely, and for a moment she wondered if perhaps he was drunk; she'd gotten used to drunks, working in a bar, and he reminded her of those trying to clear their head as they pretended to be fine, that disgruntled 'my body is not cooperating' little grimace...
"Skally," he said. "Her name's Skally. Hey, Tifa, long time no see. How's it going?"
She watched him come alive under her eyes, cocky cant of his hips, cocky smirk, watched the cat sit and curl her long, long tail around her haunches and lick a paw smugly, and even as she laughed back and started chatting a little voice in the back of her mind couldn't help thinking 'but I was so sure her name was...'
But Cloud ought to know the name of his own daemon. She'd likely caught them in the middle of deep thoughts, distracting them. Nothing weird there, right? Nothing weird.
Breon stood at her side, solid and quiet, watching. Knowing.