It had been a week since the incident with the pimp and Lizzy had had five separate arguments with the family over it. She had insisted that she was fine, but twice one of the family had found her opening the wage jar to take what was in. She had insisted that she was putting money in there, but after checking her room, Jamie had found two vials of the white liquid that Tifa had told him about.
It hadn't been pretty, but as soon as Bendric found out he had badly beaten Lizzy, leaving her with several black bruises across her face, arms and back, Tifa had never seen abuse like this dealt out by a parent before and had been very shocked when she saw Lizzy's face the next day. But of course, it still hadn't been that easy...two days later, when coming home from a late shift at the Butterflies Kiss, Tifa found Lizzy lying on the couch, an empty syringe on the floor. She rushed over to her and grabbed her arm-Jamie had walked her the last time she'd been like this-but instantly pulled back, it was ice cold. After a second, she realised what it meant and let out a scream.
After calling all the family and getting them home, Tifa shrank into her room, hearing all the pained cries from the living room. For some reason Tifa was blaming herself for this, she didn't know why but...something inside her told her that this was all her fault.
Life went on, the Kinnon's couldn't afford a spectacular funeral and that resulted in a very small and cheap ceremony, Tifa had never been to a funeral-she had been in a coma during her mother's-and she didn't know how to act.
She had stood next to Jamie and held his hand as he fought to keep the tears back, when she held him and he began to cry, she felt tears rolling down her cheeks as well. Maybe this was how you were supposed to act?
And, almost as soon as the ceremony had started, it ended. And life was moving on again.
Tifa leaned against the bar, the night had been a very slow one, she was just about to call for her break when two men walked in, both were large and muscled. They scanned the bar before nodding towards Tifa.
The Bouncer at the Kiss was a retired Shinra soldier named Clarence Drakment, he looked between Tifa and the men and nodded to her to get in the back, Tifa had had to deal with small scuffles before now and knew what it meant.
"Excuse me...we don't want no trouble boys...why not go somewhere else?" He said, folding his arms.
"We are here to speak with that woman." One said, pointing at Tifa, who had been about to step in through to the back.
"Well, she's busy with work." Clarence said, blocking their view of Tifa. "You'll have to forget this-."
The second grabbed Clarence by the throat and pushed him quickly back to the bar, while the other walked directly for Tifa.
She raised her fists and was about to begin fighting when he stopped. "Come with us Ms...I don't want to have to hurt you."
"Like I'd go anywhere with a pair of scrubs like you!" Tifa snapped, readying for an attack.
But a second later, she saw a flash of steel and felt an electrical current slam into her body, screaming out she fell to the floor. Looking up at a third person-his man was leaner and more well dressed-he was carrying a nightstick that sparked at the tip.
"Pick her up. Shit, you idiots, can't you even deal with a simple bitch without having to have my assistance!"
"Sorry boss Skotch." The burley man mumbled, picking Tifa up.
She tried to raise her arm but her whole body was numb and as she was carried out of the bar, she felt a rising sense of dread, who were these people, why were they doing this?
Tifa was placed rather gently on a luxury leather sofa and left there, she still couldn't move her body and was already beyond terrified. She had been taken out of Sector three, away from her new home and across half of the Slums, where she was now she had no idea.
And suddenly the doors opened and two men walked in, they seemed to be brothers as they had similar features though both were the opposite of the other. One was overweight, wore an open necked shirt, tacky blue pants and a red suede jacket and had a single quaff of blond hair on his head. The other was lean, well muscled and wore an open black silk shirt, loose fitting pants and jacket and long sweeping blond hair. They sat down at their desks and looked directly at Tifa.
"So...we meet at last." The one in blue said, "I am sorry for Skotch's rough hand, but so many people we wish to meet have a...ah, difficult time in accepting our invitations."
Tifa still was unable to move, but she looked at them. "What...am I...doing...here?"
"Well, that really depends on what you've got to tell us, isn't it." He said, "From what we heard, you attacked one of our men the other week."
"You mean...that bastard...who...was...hurting Lizzy?"
"She was repaying a debt that she owed us." The other said, he had a very disgusting look as he raked his eyes over her body. "And from what he told us, you attacked him."
"Yes...I...did." Tifa said, "He...was...forcing-."
"Not forcing, she enjoyed what she was doing." The one in the blue said. "Now...I understand that you stole from us."
"Stole...I never stole
anything." Tifa felt her arm twitch, she closed her eyes and tired to move it, but it was still unresponsive.
"Why would he lie like that?"
because I kicked
his ass." She replied, "Now
even if you didn't steal from us, our product was lost
you are to blame for that." The one in red said. "Someone has to repay that debt
you do understand that there are ways other than Gil to pay us."
And his smile terrified Tifa, so much that she actually felt herself move backwards. When she realised what she'd done, she moved again, this time to stand up.
Ganju, I don't think this young lady would be interested in that form of payment." The second said. His voice changed almost immediately "Go
I'll deal with this."
And shockingly, the fat man stood and walked out. As he did, Tifa saw a distinctively disgruntled look on his face, Tifa shuddered to think what he'd been planning, but she wasn't about to relax, especially with the stronger looking man facing her.
I think we need to get something clear, I don't think you stole anything from us, the man who had been in possession of our product, well he has been dealt with." He said, shaking his head. "I apologise for my brother, sometimes I wonder what things would be like for Wall Market if I were not here."
He stood and walked over to the open decanter, grabbed two glasses and poured a sizable amount in one and a small amount in the other. "I know that bringing you here as we did must have shocked you."
He walked over to her and handed her the drink, Tifa took it but held it, keeping her eyes on him. She knew that she could move now, but even if she was fully capable of moving, she doubted that she'd be able to beat this guy.
"Why would you want to help a girl like Elizabeth Kinnon?" He asked, sipping the red liquid. "She was a junkie for a while before you saw her with my man. Heroin, Coke, even a little Meth
why try and help a hopeless case?"
"Because she was a part of my family." Tifa said, her voice already hot. "Why do you people do this, hurt innocent people just because-."
"We sell a product to people who need it." He replied, "And let me tell you, I'm surprised that you haven't needed it yet, the way I hear things, both Bendric and Jamie did things to her that would fuck up any mind."
"What are you-?"
"Bendric likes to
shall we say, 'play' with his daughters when he's had a tough day, Elizabeth just finally had enough and decided to shut those memories out."
"That's not true!"
ever seen Jamie in a very bad mood?" The man said, his eyes glistening. "Ever seen him lose his temper?"
"No, I have-."
But she had, she'd seen him in a terrible mood, she'd seen anger and darkness in his eyes. He'd been scary that day and she suddenly stopped mid sentence. The man seemed to take this as a proof and nodded. "Though Jamie never actually hurt Elizabeth that way, he did lord over her, keeping her in line, as he does with you."
"Jamie does not do anything of the sort." Tifa snapped, she attempted to stand, but her legs simply shook too much. She relaxed and stared at him. "What are you going to do with me?"
"I'm not going to do anything to you
I simply wish to talk with you." He gave a very leading smile but Tifa felt nothing but coldness inside her. He stood up, "I hear you've been asking questions about SOLDIER, why?"
"That's got nothing to do with you." Tifa said, she didn't like the way he looked, and either way he didn't need to hear about Cloud, it would lead to questions about her past-which no one needed to hear.
"I wonder whether you'd like to know about him." He said as he walked towards her. "A blond SOLDIER around sixteen
there were a few of that age range." He gave a nod to her. "Tell me, how much would you be willing to give up in finding information about him
Tifa felt her stomach fall through the floor, the man seemed to realise this because he smiled. "Oh yes, I know you
my brains are firmly set in my head, unlike my brother. The Turks are capable of passing along information for a certain amount of Gil
I know all about what happened in Nibelheim. So, do you want to know where Cloud is and what is happening to him now?"
Tifa was beginning to panic, for all she knew that fat one was off getting the Turks as they spoke here. She again tried to get up, but her legs simply shook under her, still refusing to bear her weight. He sat down next to her.
"I hear that you faced off against Sephiroth and survived
that is some feat." He stroked her face and she flinched. "Cloud is alive and very safe you know
practically waiting for you to come to him. I'd also be willing to give you the Gil to travel to him
so, what would you be willing to relinquish?"
Tifa looked at him and immediately knew that he was telling her the truth, but
there was also something else there, something very dark.
"Where is he, if you tell me
I'll pay anything."
"Okay then." He smiled as he leaned in, his hand stroked her leg and slid between them, Tifa gasped as she felt his strokes starting, "What I want, pretty thing
is your virginity."
And Tifa then found herself on her back with him over her, staring at her face with a hungry desire.
It all happened so quickly that, years later, Tifa would look back and not be able to place which happened first, she knew how it happened through reasoning, but the events in her memory were all jumbled up.
Tifa shot out her hand as he had been ready to grab at her blouse, the spatter of blood that rained down on Tifa's face was huge, looking into the open wound on his neck, Tifa reacted again quickly, rolling away from him and staring at him as he desperately grasped at his neck, spluttering out an almost incomprehensible jumble of words before he slumped on the couch and stopped moving.
Tifa stood there, immobile for several moments before she raised her hand to move the blood off her face, but in doing this one small act, she completely freaked out. Letting out a slight scream, she blindly ran out of the room, heading straight for the nearest exit, not bothering to hold back as people tried to stop her, which only added to her state of confusion as she shot away, through throngs of people, all the sounds jumbled, the faces all blurred and indistinct.
And then she hit a brick wall and stumbled back, falling on the floor. "Oh shit, sorry little kid, I wasn' lookin' where I was goin'." The Wall said, A large gloved hand extended towards her. "God, what the hell happened to ya?"
As Tifa took in the area, she saw she was in a very quiet area of the Slums-possibly Sector four or five-and a large, muscled black man was staring at her. He was roughly dressed and had the look of a dangerous person, but he was also standing right next to a stroller with a baby inside. Tifa was about to speak when she saw the steel gun turret that was actually grafted onto his arm.
"Please!" She said, stepping backwards, "I-I don't want any trouble, please just let me-."
And she felt something catch on her heel, stumbling backwards something hit her head and all became darkness.
"You know, some would think you're a little obsessive."
Tifa turned to see a vision of a sixteen year-old Cloud, he was oddly dressed in something that resembled a SOLDIER's uniform but strangely coloured a bright blue-like the infantrymen of the Shinra Guard. He also had a rifle in his hand.
But just seeing him there made Tifa's face warm with a smile. But it all came back in a second, the sentence didn't make sense.
"What do you mean?"
"I meant what I said, Tifa
you seem a little obsessive." Cloud said, shrugging. "I mean
it's been over two years since we've seen each other
Tifa didn't know why, but the yes was on the edge of her tongue, but it wouldn't come.
"Well, we'll talk on that another time
but really, even if we have seen each other more recently, why would you pay anything for me. It's not like we're really friends, we never really talked?" He shrugged. "Why go to those lengths for me?"
"Because I love you." She said, sighing. "I want you to know that
Cloud, after you left I couldn't stop thinking about you."
here's an idea, get on with your life, get over it and maybe stop getting in situations where you put your life at risk?" Cloud said, turning. "If we meet again Tifa
you don't know whether I'll even remember you, do you
get over me and try and to get a better life than you've got."
Tifa stood there, staring at the disappearing form of Cloud, only to have her reoccurring nightmare appear. Suddenly, Sephiroth was standing, stabbing Cloud through the chest with his sword, she screamed as it hit, but again the scene changed to show Cloud, a worried look on his face as he looked in on her, he caressed her face before he again disappeared.
?" She muttered, "Cloud
don't go, please
And Tifa screamed as she sat up, her breathing was coming in harsh, quick breaths but after a moment she stopped, hearing a crying coming from nearby.
ssh Marl, ssh
it's okay. Barret's here
Tifa looked around, she was in some strange room with a burley looking black man who was rocking a baby from side to side with one arm.
Things seemed to be coming back to her now, she'd killed that guy in the suit, ran away and found him
she'd passed out or something similar.
"Where am I?"
"My place, you looked messed up and leaving a kid on 'er own ain't my style." He said, still rocking her. "What's yer name anyway?"
um, I've done a lot of babysitting." She stood up and walked over to the man. "Here
you're rocking her all wrong."
He looked at Tifa for a moment before handing her over, the baby was white! but Tifa slowly started to rock and bob at the same time, making quiet shushing gestures as she did, it took about twenty minutes but eventually the baby did quiet down.
"M'name's Barret, that kid was me best friends
he died when me hometown was destroyed. Me'n Marlene are the only survivors, I swore when I found 'er that I'd raise 'er right." He looked over at the small cot and gave a sigh. "A lotta shit happene' becaus o'the Shinra, bastards."
Barret had already agreed to letting Tifa stay with him, the worst thing was though, Tifa didn't know where she was and looking out into the Sector. It was like she had been ripped up again, just as she had been ready to begin her life.