Completion Chapter 7
Interlude Two: Tifa's Confession
Cloud tried not to think as he followed Yrene to wherever they were going. Reno walked silently behind the hero, his intense eyes taking note of every detail possible. Apollyon walked behind Reno thus erasing all ideas of escape. So sure were they that Cloud and Reno would behave that they didn't bother to restrain them at all. It was more unsettling to the prisoners without being at least handcuffed. It was as if they were going because they wanted to. Yrene walked into a lab, Cloud stopped cold. "Move," Apollyon ordered. Reluctantly, Cloud went into the lab.
Reno felt a lump rise up in the back of his throat as he looked at two of Hojo's old specimen tubes in the corner of the room. Cloud was shivering beside him. The red head looked to the floor and was immediately sorry that he had done so. The cement was stained a rosy color from Hojo's past victims. Reno would not deny that he was afraid as well. Unconsciously the two men moved closer to each other. Yrene stood at a door across the room, Apollyon remained at the door they had entered from. Reno and Cloud were trapped.
"Well, well, long time no see." A familiar voice floated to them, causing them to spin around. "You both look well," A fit of insane giggles erupted from the speaker, Reno felt his hair stand on end. "Much better then the last time I saw you." The figure laughed again at it's prisoner's gaping mouths. "The two men without whom the fall of Sephiroth and Shinra would not be possible." Giggling madly, the speaker sat down on the bloodstained desk, "I owe you both."
Cloud and Reno found their voices at the same time, "Rufus!"
Elena took a deep breath as she walked out to the deck of the Highwind. Tifa was the only other person up and about. The brunette was watching the sunrise over the fallen city. It stained the ruins gold, orange and red. All this time, it still looks like a battle field. She walked purposefully up to Tifa. "Tifa?" The other woman turned around, her red rimmed eyes showing more sadness then any words could talk about. "Could I ask you a question?"
Tifa turned back to the sunrise, looking at the ground. "Sure," she wrung her hands.
"When Tseng died, did he suffer?" The brunette snapped her head over to stare blankly at Elena. "I don't blame you, I don't want to get anything to throw back into your face. I just want to know. I will sleep better at night if I know."
Tifa smiled sadly at Elena, she had been expecting an attack, an insult, anything but what she was getting. An honest, needful question. "He was in shock. I don't think that he felt it anymore. You know how he was, always so serious." The brunette put her hand on Elena's shoulder as the blond started to tear up. "I can tell you that he died well, he wasn't alone." Tifa felt herself begin to cry as well.
Elena hugged Tifa. "Thank you, I just had to know." Tifa returned the hug. Elena stepped back and looked into her wine toned eyes. "You truly love Reno don't you?" Tifa nodded. "I am behind you Tifa, so is Yuffie and Vince. Don't worry about the past, or what people will think." The blond turned to go. When she was about halfway across the deck she turned around. "Oh and Tifa?" The brunette looked over her shoulder at her. "If you hurt him again I will be forced to change my mind."
"Thank you Elena." Tifa said gratefully to the blonde's back.
Barret stretched as he walked off the Highwind. It was going to be a very long day. First he was going to have to put up with Yuffie snuggling up to that Turk and then he was going to actually work with them. The big man walked into the ruins of Midgar, he realized he was in what had been sector seven. He looked up to the sky, I promised you guys that I would get him for you. Jessie, Biggs, Wedge, what am I supposed to do now? Hate for the red headed Turk welled up inside him yet again. He smashed his fist into a piece of the rubble. No matter what Tifa has to say, you killed my friends. You killed them without a second thought. I will get you for that, Reno. A flash of red caught Barret's attention.
Suzanna hopped up on what used to be a cement pillar. "You hate me don't you?" Barret blinked at the child for a few moments. She continued sit on the pillar and sadly stared at him.
"What reason would I have ta hate ya?" Barret had a soft spot for kids, he felt sorry for Suzanna. With Reno as a father you probably have it bad kid.
"You hate Daddy." She said simply.
"Yeah I guess I do." He sat down as well, wondering where this was going.
"Why?" She hopped down and moved closer to him.
"He killed a lot of people, kid. Don't you know what he is?"
The little girl shook her head, "he didn't wanna." She sat down next to Barret and sniffled back tears. "It was my fault."
"Did he tell you that!" Barret was shocked, I am going to break his fucking worthless neck.
"No," she hung her head, hiding her face in waves of red hair. "Daddy told me that man was crazy and that I shouldn't listen to him. But he was right. Daddy was trying to be nice, but he was wrong." Now crying, Suzanna looked up to the big man, "Daddy's a bad liar."
"Your dad can not blame you for all the nasty things he did." Barret started. He put his big hand on the child's shoulder. She welcomed the contact.
"He didn't. Hojo told me this."
"What were you near that man for?"
Suzanna moved closer to Barret, "they came into daycare and took me. Shinra told Daddy that they would give me back after the plate dropped. If he didn't then Hojo got me." She started to shake, "it was so scary down there. People were screaming, and I wanted my Daddy. Hojo told me that Daddy, Uncle Rude and everyone else were terrible people. He told me that Daddy was a bad person because he had to worry about me too much."
Barret felt more rage for the mad doctor and the Shinra then he had ever thought possible. How could Hojo tell a little child those things? Suddenly he wondered what he would be able to do to protect Marlene. I would do anything for her, she's my daughter. He couldn't feel bad for Reno, but his heart went out to Suzanna. "That isn't true. Your Daddy did what he did because he had too, but it wasn't your fault. It was his."
"How?" Such a small question, why would it be so hard to answer.
"Because he is the adult." At twenty one years old..... God Damn. Reno was no adult, he was a boy when his daughter was born. How many kids would have left their girlfriends, or made them have an abortion at that age? Barret often felt overwhelmed with Marlene, not with lack of love for the child, but because there was so much to raising a child. And he was 31 when he took Marlene out of Coral. Reno was 15 when his daughter was born. "Where's your momma?" He asked.
"She died when I was a baby. I don't 'member her. I kinda wanted Auntie Tifa to be my momma, but she doesn't like us no more."
"That isn't true at all. Tifa misses you very much. She's told me so. She's mad at your Daddy."
"You can't have one and not the other," the child looked at her shoes. "Try not to hate my Daddy, please?"
Barret hugged the little girl. "I'll try,"
The air hung heavy with emotion as the group began to meet in the main room of the Highwind. The first people to enter were Tifa, Elena and Vincent. Tifa was thankful that they sat next to her. She would need support. Barret followed with Suzanna, earning strange looks from the others. The little girl wandered into the next room to play with the computer, she knew that there was going to be a boring adult talk. Reeve and Scarlet came in with Nanaki and Rovina. All four said nothing as they sat down.
Cid came in, unusually silent. He had been thinking all night. Shera had told him to calm down over the phone, but he couldn't shake the feeling that she and Elmyra and Marlene may be in trouble. They went to Wutai to be on the safe side. Thinking of Wutai made him think about Yuffie. He looked about and felt a bit perturbed that Rude was also MIA. If that son of a bitch-
The door came open cutting off Cid's thoughts. Yuffie walked into the room and blushed immediately when she realized how late she was. "Uhm Rude's smoking, he'll be in inna minute." She bit her lip and moved to sit down, hoping that no one noticed her slight difficulty walking. Cid got up, and stormed out the door. Yuffie jumped up to follow him, but Vincent stopped her. "Vince lemme go! He's going to jump Rude's ass!"
"And you won't stop him. Getting involved is only going to get Rude mad at Cid." The dark ex-Turk replied. "Rude promised to behave right?"
"Yeah, but Cid will just push and push!" She turned to glare at Barret. "I don't know why it's any of anyone's business! He's nice to me, he treats me like an adult. I understand being protective but," she threw her arms in the air and flopped down "GAWD! I will give them ten minutes."
Cid walked up to Rude with a more then slightly pissed off air. "What did you do to her!?" he snapped.
Rude had to turn his body around to look at the pilot. His neck hurt to much to move it. He didn't say a word as he puffed on the smoke. You knew this was going to happen. She told you it would. Cid lit his own cigarette and waited. Rude turned away from him.
"Listen you shit head you touch her again and I am-" Cid was silenced as Rude spun around and lifted him off the ground by the collar.
"You will what?" He puffed on the cigarette with his free hand before speaking again. "Let us get some things strait, Highwind. One: I could curl you if I felt like it, so force is kinda useless. Two: What ever we do together is none of your business. I didn't hurt her, I didn't force her." He sat the pilot down, "Three: She made me promise to be nice to you, so you should thank her later." With that he turned away from Cid to toss his cigg over the railing. He brushed shoulders with the pilot as he entered the Highwind.
When the group had calmed down Reeve turned to Tifa, "well Teef. You going to tell us the truth now?"
The brunette nodded, "yeah." She looked around and took a deep breath. "When I was five my mother died. My father was devastated, as a result I spent a lot of time with my master Zangan. Three months after Mom died I went with him to my first tournament. We met another one of his students and Chocobo Bill's. She had a young boy with her. His name was Reno.
"His student was Maraih, she was amazing in a fight. She was also a very close friend. Reno was shy, believe it or not. We ended up sneaking out for a swim because we couldn't sleep."
Reno edged over to Tifa's bed. "Tifa" he whispered "Hey wake up." The girl opened her garnet eyes and looked into Reno's blue ones. "Lets go play."
"Now?" She sat up.
"Okay." She slipped down to the floor and the two kids ran out the door. "Lets go swimming!" Tifa smiled and ran ahead of Reno. "Betcha can't catch me!"
"Really?" Reno dashed for her and grabbed her shoulder. "Tag!" And he darted off. They chased each other to a little pond. Reno stooped down and looked into the water. "I never went swimming before." He saw his reflection, suddenly he frowned and reached a hand to his scarred cheek.
"You all right Reno?" Tifa didn't like the change that simply seeing himself had brought on Reno. She sat down next to him and tapped him on the back "Reno?"
"I thought that I was alone until then. Misery loves company I guess, because he made me feel better. I knew that I could talk to someone. Where he came from didn't matter to me then. Who he was is all that mattered. When he told me about his mom I told him about mine. We were best friends ever since.
"The guys that killed my mom did these to me. I just don't like seeing them." He said sorrowfully
Tifa put her small hand in front of her mouth in a shocked expression. "Reno? I am so- are you okay?" They looked at each other for a few minutes. Tifa bit her bottom lip and softly told him "My mom died about three months ago." Her eyes began to well up with tears. She looked up into Reno's seemingly impassive face, "How do you stop from crying?"
"I can't cry. It hurt so much so when I did that I stopped." Suddenly aware of how small they were, the children eked together. "I wish I could cry again sometimes, it made me feel better." He looked up at the sky. "If you want to cry do it, I miss my momma too. It still hurts a lot. I won't say nothin' about it."
Tifa hugged her new friend. "Thank you, Reno."
He hugged her back. "For what?"
"We wrote each other at least twice a week. All the kids that skipped school made me so mad, Reno would have killed for the opportunity to go. He has this photographic memory, it really is a crime that he never got an education. He did fine for himself with the church library though."
Cid coughed. "Church? Where did he get there?"
"Oh, yeah. Mariah lived in a church with one of Master Zangan's friends, Padre. He and Reno fought all the time. As Reno grew older it got worse. Maraih got too sick to work, and the church was not for profit. Shinra taxed the hell out of the slum people. Reno got a job running drugs to keep up with the bills." She looked down, "I begged him to come live with me or master Zangan, but he was so stubborn! Always had to take care of other people, he didn't even think that Padre wanted him around, and he still paid their bills.
"When he was fourteen he met this girl, her name was Bethany. She was perfect for him. She made him a much more relaxed and sober person. Trigger was born when he was fifteen. I came to visit, even though Reno begged me not to. Said that the slums were dangerous. I am stubborn too."
Tifa walked slowly off the train. Her father would have killed her if he knew where she was. He hated Reno. It was more that he was overprotective, Reno wasn't exactly a sterling citizen. But he was still Tifa's closest friend. She looked around for her best friend, he was easy to spot. The tall red head walked up to her swiftly. "comon Teef, let's go before it gets dark." They made their way down the allies, Tifa kept close to Reno. She tried not to pay much attention to the people laying in the trash. A man grabbed her arm.
"Hey darl'n how much?" Tifa pulled her arm free and stood gaping at the man. She was appalled at him, he moved closer.
Reno was fast, his gun was level with the man's head. Tifa gasped, she had never seen that side of Reno before, "How much is your life worth old man?" The guy backed up quickly.
"Wolf! I-I - "
Reno narrowed his eyes, "you are leaving".
"People were afraid of Reno. He was the leader of a gang called Fallen. No one knew his name, they called him the Red Wolf. It was so strange seeing him that way, as someone to fear. He was only trying to get by, to feed his family."
Tifa felt emotion well up inside her, she closed her eyes, but tears moved out none the less. "He loved Bethany so much, they were so happy. They had nothing but each other and Trigger. And then she was killed. A rival gang had her executed when Trigger was just a few months old."
"Executed?" Barret asked. "You mean-"
Tifa nodded, "yes. Reno lost it. He blew the whole place up."
"Fuckers deserved it," Rude grumbled.
She glared at Reeve. "Mariah didn't take losing Beth well, her illness took over again, she was hospitalized. Hospitals cost, and Reno didn't have it. But the Turks offered it to him. Didn't they Reeve?"
"I had no choice in that Tifa." Reeve said in a voice that the other members of Avalanche had never heard him use. His light tenor voice had a bludgeoning effect. Tifa remained undaunted.
"He had to kill one guy. That was all so he thought. He had no idea that he wasn't going to get away. I didn't hear from him after that. Padre let us know that Mariah had died, Reno was no where to be found. Padre refused to tell me what had happened. I thought that he was killed." She sniffled more.
"He saved me from Neiblehiem. I - I - ." She looked at Rude. "If it hadn't have been for you both...."
Tifa was barley conscious. She remembered Sephiroth, then she felt hands on her body. She remembered the SOLDIERS, they had used cure materia on her, but she was still not better. Tifa thought that they were taking her to a doctor, but when they removed her torn shirt from her body she realized what they were really thinking. She was too weak to fight them, she whimpered and they laughed at her. They pinched and pulled at her, one moved over her, to remove her skirt when the door flew open. It slammed him into the wall and bounced off his head, knocking him out.
"What do I have here?" Reno growled. He looked around and then smirked dangerously "I know, four dead men if they don't pack their dicks back and leave."
"Three ta one aren't great odds, Turk. You'll get a go. We found her." Snapped one man. His face went pale when the threat didn't seem to work.
Reno pulled his nightstick out again. "Leave now or you won't live to regret it later." The men began to advance on him as Rude ran into the room. The big Turk made the SOLDIERS quickly rethink the idea of fighting. They looked over to the only officer in the room, the man who Reno's entrance had knocked clean out. "How about two on three?" Reno asked the now uncomfortable SOLDIERs
"Three on three is the fair thing to do now." Tseng was leaning in the door way, picking at his nails with a butterfly knife. "However, I seem to recall hearing that a good Turk was more then a match for three good SOLDIERs. I suppose we will see." The Wutain cracked his knuckles.
"No no, Uhm we have someplace that we have to be." A different man said, edging away from Tifa. The three SOLDIERs lined up against the wall as Reno put his nightstick back into its holster. Rude and Tseng moved aside and the men darted nervously out. Reno was already kneeling next to his friend.
"Teef? Hey? You awake?" Reno removed his jacket and wrapped Tifa in it. He lifted her without much effort. "Teef?" Reno repeated, shaking her gently.
Tifa's eye's began to flutter open, "Cloud?" She moaned, she opened her eyes. "Re? What are you doing here?" Tifa blinked "Where have you-" Rude chanted quickly cutting her off. The sleep materia took effect and Tifa's head fell to Reno's chest.
Tifa's tears fell down her cheeks and hit the table. "They risked their necks to hide me from Hojo. They went against direct orders to save me. I felt so welcome by them all." She looked at Scarlet, "you especially, Scarlet. I mean, you made me get back on my feet. You all were so kind."
She smiled at Yuffie despite her tears. "Rufus had a bit of a crush on my chest. And well, he was creepy. So Rude, being the great true blue friend that he is pretended to be my boyfriend. It was our inside joke, that Rude liked me." She shook her head and laughed. "I will never forget the time that Rufus asked Reno about us and he said 'well the last guy to hit on Teef in front of Rude just got out of therapy about a week ago. I heard that he has almost full use of his left side now.'" All the Turks started to laugh. "He never even looked at me again."
"That was so funny." Scarlet shook her head. "You were as much trouble as they were. Miss- I threw the woman out of the window because she was talking shit about Rude." Tifa laughed with them. The blonde ex-Turk smiled at her. "Okay, so I suppose that I can say I missed you too Tifa."
"I am never going to deny that I was attracted to Reno. I was. He respected me much more then I wanted him to, he never...." She sighed in a wistful way, "I couldn't help but fall in love with him." She wiped her eyes. "I wish that he wouldn't have had so much control, maybe I would have never left. It was frustrating, nearly begging for a man that slept with on average three women a day for his job. I was so jealous...." her voice trailed off.
"Then I heard about Avalanche. I wanted to take Shinra down. I knew deep down that Avalanche could do it." She looked at Barret. "I am so sorry, Barret. I lied to you. I let you think that I wanted revenge only, but that wasn't it. I wanted Reno to be free. I wanted him to never have to do all those things that Shinra made him do. Then we could have a family." Barret said nothing, Tifa continued to stare at the table.
"I had two families, the Turks and Avalanche. They clashed as I guess I knew they would. He had to drop the plate, and I never gave him a chance to explain. I called him all sorts of names that I didn't mean. I told him that my father was right about him." She shook her head at the bad memory, "I know that I hurt him." Vincent put his human arm on Tifa's shoulder, "I never even gave him the chance to tell me why."
"They had his daughter." Barret said gruffly. Tifa looked up at him and nodded.
"That explains so much." She continued to cry, her words coming out between sobs. "I just left, I called him all those things, I pretended that I loved Cloud, I even..." Elena handed Tifa a tissue. "I never told Trigger good-bye, I just left. I abandoned her, if I would have looked for her I would have known." Tifa looked to the door of the room Suzanna was playing in, "I have missed her so much, she was like a daughter to me, and Reno... I left them both, I don't even know how Trigger took me leaving. I wasn't there." Tifa knew her mother was dying long before she lost her. Trigger had no idea that Tifa was leaving, she didn't want to think about how much she could have hurt the little child, all because she was being selfish. "I- I- I am so sorry, now I beg you all to forgive me for lying, for leaving, for being so selfish. None of you have too, I will understand if Reno doesn't want to see me again. I just want to tell him I didn't mean all those nasty things I said. I was so wrong."
The door to the computer room opened slowly. Suzanna leaned in the doorway, her hands in the pockets of her jeans. She looked up slowly, "does this mean your coming back?"
Holy she looks like Reno. Tifa nodded, "if you don't mind."
The little girl looked back at the floor. "I never wanted you to leave," she looked around the room. Everyone was staring at her, the girl stood up and walked over to Vincent and Tifa, "can we get Daddy now?"
Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic