Shards Chapter 13
The Return To The Apartment
By Frank Verderosa
"You still up?"
Jessie lifted her head from the computer screen to see Wedge looking at her from where he was lying on the couch.
"Obviously," she said softly, not wanting to wake up Biggs, who was sleeping in a pile of blankets on the floor nearby. "I'm sorry, did I wake you?"
She had been trying to be as quiet as possible. Only the tapping of her fingers on the keys had disturbed the silence. And the small light she had on the desk beside the keyboard was dimmed. Their 'headquarters' had once been a maintenance room. There had still been tools in the lockers that had lined one wall when they had first found it. It wasn't all that big, but it was obviously unused, and it had the advantage of having a small bathroom, that actually still worked, off of it. The corrugated metal stripping they had pulled in front of the entrance effectively made it unlikely that anyone would stumble across it. And with water pipes and electrical wiring running along the ceiling and walls for them to tap into, they had pretty much all the basics they needed. They had added some furniture. The couch, a table, desk, a small refrigerator, stove, the computer, and a few other small amenities they had managed to buy or find second hand. It wasn't anyone's idea of heaven, but they could do a lot worse.
"No. I don't think so. What time is it?" Wedge questioned, still obviously half asleep. Jessie looked at the bottom right corner of her computer screen.
"Almost three o'clock," she replied.
"Damn," Wedge muttered. "How can you stay up so late?"
Jessie shrugged without replying. She liked staying up late. In fact, she found that she often did some of her most productive work in the wee hours of the morning. Perhaps it was because it was quiet and there were no disturbances. Well, not usually.
"What are you working on anyway?" Wedge asked.
"Same thing I've been doing for the last month," Jessie replied. "Trying to break into Shinra's computer system. That trip to the dumpsters behind Shinra headquarters paid off. I found three passwords, although none of them are very high level. Most of the stuff I've found so far hasn't been very useful, but at least we have a foot in the door."
Wedge nodded and closed his eyes again. He wasn't much of a late night person himself. He couldn't understand how Jessie could do it, really. But when she got into something on that computer it was almost like an obsession. She never seemed to want to stop, not to rest, or sleep, or even eat. A couple of times he had woken up in the morning to find her still at the chair, fast asleep resting on the keyboard.
Jessie turned back to the computer. She looked at it for a moment, then rubbed her eyes. She really was tired. She hadn't noticed how much so until Wedge had distracted her. She really should be going to bed.
Just a little bit longer.
Her hands started tapping rapidly on the keys, but a moment later she stopped, looking up. She thought she had heard something. Someone's voice? She looked over at Wedge but his head was down, turned away from her, probably asleep again already. It certainly hadn't been him.
She sat there for a minute listening, but heard nothing more. She shrugged. It must have been nothing. She was getting tired. She started blankly at the computer screen for a moment. She had lost her concentration. She might as well go to bed.
She turned off the computer and dimmed the small light beside it. When they had first come here they had turned the lights off completely when they went to sleep. But living underground was a bit different from living in a house on the surface. No surface light reached them here. When they turned off all the lights it was pitch black. They had found that if someone had to get up in the middle of the night, say to go to the bathroom, or more importantly, if there was an emergency, it was better if they had a little bit of light to see by, then to go stumbling around in the dark. And besides, the corrugated metal frame that blocked the entrance didn't seal it completely. With the light on the rats, cockroaches, and other even more unpleasant denizens of the sewers were much less likely to pay them an unwelcome visit. None of them were willing to admit it, but they were all a little bit more comfortable with their 'night light' on.
She stood up, stretched and yawned, and then nearly jumped out of her skin when the she heard the sound of the metal sheet covering the entrance being dragged aside.
Wedge sat up at her involuntary gasp of fear, or perhaps he hadn't been as asleep as she thought and had heard the scraping sound as well. Even in the dim light she could see his eyes were wide with fear.
For a moment Jessie just stood there, her mind racing in twelve different directions. That was no rat that had made that sound. No one had ever disturbed them before. She felt her heart thumping in her chest. Had Shinra somehow found out about them? It didn't even occur to her that it might be someone else. After all, who would be running around in the sewers at four o'clock in the morning?
"Biggs!" she heard herself shout. It hadn't even occurred to them that someone might discover them here. For a second she chastised herself for being so foolish. With all their careful planning, she should have thought of that. But it was too late to worry about that now. They had no weapons, only Biggs materia orb. But what had he done with it?
"Someone's here!" she exclaimed. "Where's your materia?"
Biggs roused himself from the floor at her call, looking around, bewildered.
Jessie gasped again as she saw someone step into the room. She was sure that they were all dead, but then a moment later she recognized the newcomer.
Relief flooded through her, but it was replaced a moment later with concern when she saw the condition Tifa was in. She stood in front of them, shivering uncontrollably. She was soaking wet, the water dripping off her and leaving a puddle on the floor. The nightshirt she wore was ripped apart. She held the pieces of it together with her hands, but even so it barely covered her. She didn't say a word, just looked down at the ground, her hair, soaking wet, hanging limply around her face. She looked as if she could barely walk.
"My god, Tifa, what happened?" she heard Wedge exclaim.
Tifa leaned forward, and almost looked like she would fall. Jessie stepped over to her and reached out, grabbing hold of Tifa's arm. It felt like ice.
"She's freezing. Help me get her a blanket," she called out.
She pulled Tifa toward the couch as the others scrambled to obey. Wedge turned the light up, blinding them all momentarily. Biggs wrapped a blanket around the shivering Tifa as she practically collapsed onto the couch.
"What happened?" Wedge asked again.
Tifa did not reply, just sat there staring into space. Jessie saw that it wasn't just water dripping on her face, there were tears there too. She felt a hollow feeling in her gut. It was obvious something terrible had happened.
It was also obvious Tifa was in no condition to talk it about it just yet.
"Leave her be," she said. She looked at Tifa, assessing the situation. Tifa didn't look hurt. Jessie couldn't see any bruises on her, or if there were, they weren't obvious. She only seemed to be suffering from the cold. Even with the blanket wrapped around her, she was still shivering uncontrollably. Her lips were blue and her skin felt ice cold and stiff. From the foul scent, it was obvious that Tifa had taken a swim in the river. Jessie knew only a life threatening situation would have caused Tifa to do something so desperate. She had no protection from the cold, was in fact, practically wearing nothing at all. She must have walked to here from the river. Jessie wasn't sure how far that was, but it was quite a ways. It must have taken enormous strength of will to have made it this far in that condition.
"We've got to get her out of those wet clothes," Jessie stated. "You two step outside for a minute."
It was a tribute to the seriousness of the situation that both young men unhesitantly obeyed.
As soon as they were gone Jessie helped Tifa stand up. The drenched girl offered no resistance. Jessie pulled off what little remained of her clothing and threw it aside. She quickly looked Tifa over, searching for any wounds she might have missed. Tifa had a cut on her foot, probably from running in the street barefoot. It didn't look serious. Jessie didn't see any other injuries. She wrapped Tifa up in all the blankets they had, then eased her back down on the couch once again. The whole time Tifa said not a word, in fact, she barely gave any indication at all that she was aware of what was going on.
Jessie called the others back in. Wedge came over and looked at Tifa with helpless concern, but said nothing. Biggs went over to the small space heater they had set in the corner and turned it up as high as it would go. He sat down beside it, one eye on Tifa and the other on the heater. It was old and not very reliable. They had found out the hard way that at it's highest setting it had a nasty tendency to catch fire itself.
Jessie sat down beside Tifa and put her arm around her. Tifa still didn't look at her. They all sat there in silence. Tifa's three friends, although they were all dying to know what had happened, waited patiently until she was willing to speak.
Eventually, after what seemed like hours, Tifa's shuddering shoulders stilled. A bit of color returned to her cheeks. She muttered something, but Jessie could not make it out.
"What did you say?" she said softly, cocking her head toward Tifa.
"I've got to go back," she heard Tifa say, barely whispering.
"Go back? Where? To Garren's apartment?" Jessie said, looking at Tifa in surprise.
Tifa nodded slowly.
"Tifa, what happened?" Jessie questioned gently.
At first Tifa didn't say anything, just shook her head slowly. But then, slowly, haltingly, the words started to come out. She didn't dwell on the details. But even so it was difficult for her to talk about. When she got to the part where Dulane had pawed her her voice cracked, and for a long time she couldn't go on, tears filling her eyes once again. Her friends looked at each other, fear and concern for her plain in their faces. But after taking a moment to compose herself she told them of her escape, her leap into the river, and the subsequent walk through the streets and the sewers, though by that time her brain was so overwhelmed by exhaustion and the cold that her memory of the events was foggy.
"I've got to go back," she repeated when she finished, her voice a little stronger now. "They've still got Garren. I don't know what..."
Again her voice faltered.
"What are you crazy?" Wedge put in his two cents. "You just barely escaped with your skin, and now you want to go back? Look at all you did to get away from him. What if he's waiting there for you?"
"But Garren is helpless," she said. "I can't just leave him there. Dulane will hurt him. I know he will. It's all my fault to begin with. If something happens to Garren I don't...I don't know what I'll do."
"We understand," Jessie said. "But you're exhausted, and still ice cold. You can't go out there again in that condition. You'll freeze to death."
"But I HAVE to!" Tifa blurted out, finally coming out of her stupor, leaning forward for emphasis. "Dulane will kill him. Dulane will kill him for sure!"
"How do you know..." Biggs began but shut up at Jessie's withering look.
"We'll go," Jessie volunteered. "You're too tired and it's too dangerous. He might be waiting for you, but he won't be expecting us."
Wedge and Biggs both nodded enthusiastically in agreement.
For the first time that night a hint of a smile appeared on Tifa's face.
"Thank you all, but this is my problem. I don't want you all to get involved, but if you insist on going, I'm going to go with you."
"That's foolish," Jessie began.
"I don't care!" Tifa cut her off. "I've got to go back. I've got to find out what happened to Garren. I don't care about the consequences."
She looked at the others, trying to make it as plain as possible by the look on her face that she would not be dissuaded. When she had struck Dulane and broken free all she had thought about was getting away. At the time, she hadn't even given a thought to Garren. Now she cursed herself for being a coward, for leaving him in that situation, without even trying to help him. She had only been thinking about herself. Dulane was bound to be angry that she had escaped. With her gone, it seemed likely he would turn his wrath on Garren.
She wasn't thinking rationally. Hadn't since Dulane had entered the apartment. It didn't occur to her that after all this time it might be too late.
Tifa looked at Jessie.
"I need some clothes."
Jessie looked at her with a troubled expression. She didn't want Tifa to go back. She was still exhausted from her ordeal, and obviously wasn't thinking straight. But Tifa seemed determined, and didn't look like she would listen to reason. True, Jessie could refuse to give her clothes. They could leave her behind. But short of tying her to the couch, they couldn't stop her from finding clothes and following them once they were gone. It's not like Jessie had her clothing stored away in some secret place. Tifa could find them in minutes if she took a notion to try. She thought about leaving one of the others behind to make sure Tifa stayed, but to tell the truth, she didn't think even that would stop Tifa if she really had her mind set on going back. And besides, if Dulane really was still at the apartment, they could use all the help they could get. They had already found out how useful Tifa could be in a fight. Besides, Jessie thought it would be better to have her with them than wandering around on her own again.
"All right," she said. She heard Wedge start to protest, but the look she gave him made his shut his mouth.
She went over to the old dresser that held their clothes and pulled open a draw. She came back a few minutes later with a pair of jeans, a green pullover sweatshirt and some undergarments. She looked at the two boys again.
"Yeah, yeah, we know," Biggs stated. He and Wedge walked out again.
While Tifa changed Jessie rummaged around for something for her to wear on her feet. Eventually she found an old and rather ratty pair of sneakers that she had never bothered to throw out, but when Tifa tried them on they were too small. They finally had to settle on an extra pair of Bigg's, which were a little too big, but would do. Finally Jessie handed Tifa her coat. She only had one, and selected for herself a short denim jacket. It wasn't as warm as her coat, but she figured Tifa needed it more than she did.
They had called the two guys back in, and they donned their coats as well. Tifa was getting more and more impatient as each moment went by. She was still cold, in fact, she felt as if a week in the heat would not be enough to warm her body up again. Her foot was sore where she had cut it, and her head ached from the blow Dulane had dealt her. She still felt sick to her stomach about what had happened, but she was begining to think clearly again. Clear enough to realize how long she had been gone from the apartment, and what Dulane could have done in that time.
"Are we ready to go?" she asked.
"Yes," Jessie replied. "Biggs, make sure you bring that materia of yours."
Biggs nodded and patted his coat pocket.
"Already taken care of."
They set off. Tifa led the way. In spite of how tired she was, she felt she had to get back to the apartment as fast as possible. She could hardly believe she was going back. After what had happened, after all she had done to get away from him, did she really want to face Dulane again? True, she had help this time, but even so they were all still kids. At least, that was how she still thought of them. She still felt that deep down inside the others thought of this as some kind of game, a big adventure. She had thought the same thing, but she didn't anymore. Could they all really stand up to Dulane, if it came down to it, or would her friends run at the first sign of trouble? After what she had already done, could she blame them if they did? Was this a completely insane thing to do?
And yet, she couldn't just leave Garren. She had already abandoned him once, she wasn't going to do it again. Dulane hadn't had anyone with him, except Esella, and Tifa knew she wasn't going to get involved. Surely the four of them, along with Bigg's materia, could handle Dulane.
The air was bitterly cold when they emerged from the sewer. Tifa shivered again, in spite of Jessie's coat. If anything, it seemed colder than ever.
She started off down the road, back to the apartment, walking as rapidly as her feet would take her. The others kept up as best they could.
Tifa's mind raced as they walked, wondering what would happen. If Dulane saw all of them, would he still fight? Somehow she didn't think he would just give up. And what would they do if he didn't? Could they subdue him? Could they kill him? Did she even want to? After what he had done, he certainly deserved it, but was that really what she wanted. To see him dead?
A sound caught their attention. Three men were standing in the doorway to one of the buildings lining the street. The men paid them no attention.
Tifa wouldn't be unhappy to see Dulane dead, but she wasn't anxious to kill him herself. She would be perfectly happy just to never see him again. But she was determined to get Garren out. If Dulane stood in their way, they were going to take him down, even if it meant killing him.
That is, if they even could. Dulane and Esella had been alone when she left, but who was to say he hadn't called any reinforcements, hadn't had anyone waiting nearby. Now that she thought about it, she also realized that she didn't know if he had a weapon. He hadn't shown one when she had been there, but he probably thought he didn't need one. He hadn't been there to kill Tifa, after all. In fact, any damage probably would have made her less 'marketable'. But that didn't mean he didn't have a weapon. Considering the nature of the business he was in, and the kind of person he was, it seemed likely he would have something. Suppose he had a knife, could they still take him? Or a gun, she thought suddenly. What if he had a gun? That hadn't even occurred to her. What if she was just leading her friends to their death?
Tifa slowed. Apparently there was a lot she hadn't thought of. For a moment she thought about telling her friends to turn back, but she knew they wouldn't listen. If she was going on, they were going with her, and no matter what happened, she was going on.
They turned a corner and were now on the road where Garren's apartment lay. Tifa could see it now, in the darkness ahead of them. The street outside was deserted. The door to the apartment building was closed. Nothing seem out of place. There was no hint now on the street of the ordeal Tifa had gone through earlier.
They walked down the street, Tifa moving more slowly still, her urge to find Garren tempered by the real threat that lay before them. As they approached the door Biggs took the lead, slipping up the stairs ahead of Tifa. There were glass panels in the door. Biggs tried to peer through, but the panes were so dirty he could see nothing. Tifa came up beside him, feeling her fear rising. She took a deep breath, trying to calm her heart that suddenly began to beat faster. After what he had done, she was deathly afraid of Dulane. She knew now just how ruthless he could be. She didn't want to go in there, she didn't want to chance meeting him again. But she wouldn't let herself back down now. After all Garren had done for her she owned it to him to try to help him, no matter what the risk.
She opened the door, noticing that Biggs had his materia in his hand now. The bare bulb in the ceiling lit an empty hallway.
Tifa stepped inside, motioning for the others to be quiet and to follow. She looked at the stairs, but she could not see up them from where she was standing. She listened carefully, but the building was silent.
She made her way to the foot of the stairs and looked up. She saw nothing. At this time in the morning, she supposed it was always this quiet, but to her it seemed ominous. As she made her way up the stairs, she noticed her hands were shaking. The others followed her without saying a word.
The hallway where Garren's apartment stood looked almost identical to the hallway at the bottom of the stairs. Again there was no sign of anything being amiss. The door to the apartment was closed, just like all the others.
Tifa walked slowly down the hall, trying not to make any sound. The closer she got to the door, the more her feet dragged. It was as if she had to force herself through an invisible barrier, a barrier that got stronger the closer she came to the apartment door. And invisible barrier of fear.
Finally they all stood in front of the door. For a long time she just stood there looking at it, trying to build up her courage. She had tried not to think about what they might find inside. But now that they were here she could no longer avoid it. It had been hours since she had escaped. Unless he was waiting for her to come back, it seemed unlikely that Dulane would still be here. He had had plenty of time to do whatever it was he was going to do. He had had plenty of time to do something to Garren. Do something horrible.
Please god, let him still be alive.
She leaned forward, pressing her ear against the door. She stood there listening. Even from in the hallway, she could hear the faint rumble of a car going by outside, but other than that, it was silent.
Swallowing to try to moisten her suddenly dry throat, she wrapped her hand around the doorknob.
She felt more than saw the others tense behind her.
Slowly she turned the knob, then quickly pushed open the door.
The apartment was dark.
At first, that was all she could see. In spite of the quiet, she had half expected Dulane to be waiting inside, had half expected him to rush at her as soon as she opened the door. But nothing happened. The light from the hallway shone partially into the apartment, as well as the streetlights from outside the window, so it was not completely dark. Nothing moved inside.
Her eyes darted around the room. In the dim light it looked just as it had when she had left. The door to her room and Garren's room were open, but from where she was she couldn't see inside them. Nothing seemed to be disturbed.
They walked into the room. It appeared that Dulane was gone. Tifa thought she should have been thankful for that, but the tension she felt inside her did not diminish. The knot of fear in her stomach did not fade away. She kept telling herself that Garren was okay, that Dulane had left when Tifa had escaped, that she was all he had been after, but the reality was...no, she refused to think about that. Garren had to be all right. He just had to!
"It looks like he's gone," she heard Jessie say softly.
Wedge flicked the switch on the wall, and suddenly the room was filled with light. Tifa turned toward him angrily. Dulane might be in another room, unlikely as that may be, and turning on the light was a dead giveaway that they were here. But before she could say anything to him, she noticed that both Jessie and Biggs were staring at something, their faces turning suddenly pale.
She turned around again, and stopped, staring at the wall beside Garren's bedroom, as the breath suddenly leaving her lungs. She hadn't been able to see it in the dim light, but now the writing scrawled there was plainly visible. The crimson lettering almost looked as if it had been written by a child, or perhaps by someone in a hurry. Crudely fashioned, the blood, still glistening wet in the light, had run down the wall in places from the letters, but the words were still clearly legible.
You're dead bitch.
"Oh my god," she heard Jessie mutter.
Tifa looked once again at the opening to Garren's room. All she could see inside was part of one wall. She couldn't see the bed where Garren had been. All this time she had tried to convince herself that Garren was somehow okay, but suddenly she could barely think, found herself almost frantic with fear. She wanted to call out his name, to rush into the room. But she couldn't. She couldn't move. She was deathly afraid of what she would find in there.
"Garren," she heard herself say. It was a choking cry.
She felt Jessie's hand grip her shoulder.
Biggs stepped forward.
"I'll look around," he said.
She looked up at him, and it was obvious from the look on his face he was as scared as she was. She wanted to speak. Wanted to tell him no. Wanted to tell him how brave he was being. But she couldn't find any words. Her throat was constricted. She found herself biting back tears. If she opened her mouth she was sure she would start crying.
All she could manage was to point to Garren's room.
Biggs nodded. For a moment he didn't move, and she could see he was trying to build up his courage. But he took one slow step, and then another. He was right beside the doorway now. He looked back at them. No one said a word. Tifa felt tears in her eyes. Biggs turned back again and stepped into Garren's room.
Tifa stood as if turned to a statue, her heart in her throat. She prayed that by some miracle Garren was still alive. The seconds passed by agonizingly slowly. Biggs was gone only moments, but it seemed like years to her. When he stepped back out of the room his face was white as a sheet.
Tifa stared at Biggs, her eyes pleading, hoping beyond hope that somehow the look on his face did not tell the whole story. He just stared at her for a moment, the look on her face almost breaking his heart, but no matter how much he wished to, he couldn't change the reality of what he had seen.
He shook his head.
Tifa let out an agonized incomprehensible cry. Jessie tightened her grip on her friends arm, but Tifa suddenly pulled away and stumbled like a drunken person toward Garren's room.
"No!" she cried out. "It can't be. It can't. Maybe he's not dead. Maybe we can still help him. Maybe..."
Biggs grabbed hold of her, forcing her back. For a moment she resisted, still trying to force her way forward, but then, when Jessie came up and grabbed her as well, all the fight suddenly went out of her. She collapsed to her knees, sobbing.
The others let go of her, standing beside her, looking at her helplessly, tears in their eyes as well. Jessie looked at Biggs.
"Could she be right?" she asked slowly. "Is there any chance he might still..."
Biggs shook his head.
"I'm sorry," he managed to say, his voice thick.
Tifa didn't seem to hear them. She had her hands to her face, crying uncontrollably now. All she could think of was that they had been going to leave the next day. The next day! Just one more day and they would have been gone. This couldn't be happening. He couldn't be dead. He had told her he was going to take her away. Told her he was going to take her someplace where she could be happy. But now...
Oh god, it hurt so much!
Jessie crouched down beside her. For a moment she searched for words.
"I...I know how much this must hurt," she said finally. "But we have to get out of here. We have to go Tifa. We can't stay here."
Tifa didn't reply. Both her parents had been taken away from her. Her hometown had been destroyed, everyone she had known, all her friends, had been killed. She had been left in a strange town with a man she didn't know. But she had gotten to know him. They had become friends. And now this? Now he was taken away too? How much could one person take? She lifted her eyes to the ceiling, the tears still streaming down them. Hadn't she suffered enough? Had she done something wrong? Had she been bad as a child? What had she done to deserve this?
Jessie saw Tifa look up, but she didn't seem to be paying any attention. Jessie grabbed hold of her and lifted her gently. Tifa stood up without protest, without a word.
It should have been her. Dulane had been after her. If she had gone along with him Garren might still be alive. She had sacrificed him to save herself. She was a coward. She was worthless. She wished she were dead. Her parents, her town, Garren. All these people had died and yet she was still alive. All these people who were much more deserving of life than she. It wasn't fair!
Jessie grabbed hold of her hand and led her toward the door. But then she stopped and looked around.
"We need to get her some clothes," she said suddenly. She looked at Tifa then at the other open door. "Is that your room?"
Tifa didn't reply, didn't even seem to be listening.
But she wasn't dead. She wasn't done suffering. Why had Zangan brought her here? Why had Garren tried to protect her? She didn't deserve it. She didn't deserve help from anyone.
Tifa jerked, forced out her agonizing by Jessie's shout. She looked at her friend, uncomprehending.
"We need to get you some clothes," Jessie said sharply. "Where?"
For a moment Jessie thought Tifa still wasn't going to reply. But then she pointed.
"In there," she managed to say. "In a duffel bag."
Biggs walked into the room. A moment later he came out with her bag.
"All right, let's go," Jessie said.
She turned and started for the door, still holding Tifa's arm. Tifa took a step with her, but then stopped. Jessie turned to look at her.
Tifa fumbled for words, still barely able to speak.
"I...I need to get something."
She pulled out of Jessie's grip. The other girl let her go when she saw Tifa was going toward her own room. Tifa entered, looking around for a minute. Her room. After all this time that was how she felt about it. What would happen to it now? What would happen to her?
She bit back another choked cry. She had to stop! She had to stop thinking that way. She had to stop thinking at all. There was no time for that now.
She knelt down beside her bed, pulling up the mattress. Underneath a faint green glow gave away the position of the object she was after. It was the only thing she hadn't packed. She grabbed hold of the materia, then walked back out into the other room. The others looked at her curiously when they saw what she had, but said nothing. Tifa turned to look at Garren's room, the irrational idea that maybe he wasn't quite dead, that somehow she might be able to revive him with the cure materia coming to her. For a moment she hesitated, but Jessie stepped forward again, taking her arm. She steered Tifa once more towards the door, and Tifa did not protest.
Biggs was standing by the phone when Tifa emerged from her room.
"I've dialed 911," he said. "The police should be here soon. Maybe they'll arrest Dulane."
Tifa was too rattled to even consider that. But she was glad he had called the police. At least they'd take care of Garren. She couldn't stand the thought of him lying there, possibly for days, until someone found him. It was all too much. She couldn't even bear to think about it.
They left the door to the apartment open, and hurried down the stairs. Tifa let Jessie lead her along. She couldn't stop crying, but it was almost mechanical now. A numbness seemed to pervade her entire body. It almost seemed as if it were all happening to someone else. They walked out into the street, the cold hitting her again, but she hardly seemed to feel it, she felt so detached. Perhaps it was just her natural defenses kicking in, or perhaps it was just sheer exhaustion. But whatever the case, she walked with the others in a kind of fog, not thinking about what she was doing, or where they were going. Not thinking that she might have seen the inside of Garren's apartment for the last time. Not thinking about what would happen to her now. It didn't seem to matter much anyway. Almost as if sleepwalking, she followed the others as they led her away from the apartment and into the darkness of the night.
Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic