Long Time No See Chapter 4
More Like 7th Hell Than 7th Heaven
Truda Strife ran to the Seventh Heaven bar door. Unlocking it with the key that her parents gave her so that she could get in if her brother or herself needed to for some reason. Her parents had the bar rebuilt one year before she was born. Zack was only one and they needed more money in order to raise him so they had the bar rebuilt. The extra money helped in financing the town and making it grow bigger into a more of a city. When she was about four she would help her mom in the bar. Zack and her dad would sometimes help too. She remembered the times fights would break out her parents would immediately end the fight by beating up both sides. Most would run when her dad pulled out the Ultima weapon.
She walked behind the counter and got a glass out of the cupboard. After she filled the glass with water she sat down on one of the stools that stood in front of the counter. She wondered why everyone always had to think of her as helpless. She didn't consider herself being at all helpless. Her family often thought of her as their helpless daughter or sister. She hated that. She wasn't helpless in anyway. Just being the youngest everyone seemed overprotective of her. Especially her older brother, Zackery Strife.
Truda didn't notice two figures walk through the door that was left unlocked and open. Too lost in thought she didn't see them each sit next to her. One on each side the one on her right spoke first.
"What's bugging you babe."
The one her left was the next to speak, "Yeah what's a pretty girl like you doing here? You do know this bar is supposed to be closed."
"I know but the question is do you know that it is closed," said Truda angry that they just walked in knowing it was closed.
The one on the right said, "Easy babe. No hard feelings. We know its closed. This is a very famous bar owned by two of the most famous people on the planet. You're obviously not robbing the joint so what are you doing here."
"That's not any of your concern so I'm asking to leave," said Truda hoping they would get up and leave. Neither made the attempt to leave.
Instead the right one spoke up, "You're right but we're not leaving. By the way my name's Zeek and that's Kell. What's yours babe?"
"Give me one reason I should tell you my name," replied Truda still not looking at either of them.
Kell grabbed her shoulder and spun her so she was face to face with him. She could see he was either a biker or some type of gang member. He wore blue jeans with a white shirt and a leather jacket. He had to be at least 25 years of age. Under his right eye was a deep scar with stitches across it. He was bald and had a round nose ring hanging from his nostrels in a bull-like fashion. He then yelled directly into her face, "How about I hurt you and have a little fun with you if you don't tell me."
Even if she was frightened he wouldn't be able to tell. She was good at hiding her emotions. Something she picked up from her mother and father. She could keep her face still and cold when she was scared or even overjoyed. She put one hand up to the hilt of her sword then replied, "Just try it.I'll slice you into ribbons but if you want to know that badly its Truda."
Kell put her down as Zeek stood up. She turned to face Zeek. He asked,"What about your last one."
Before she could mutter a word a voice she reconized came from the doorway, "It's Strife and I don't think you should dare touch her or you'll have to deal with me."
Kell turned to see who the young man's voice came from. Zeek stepped forward and left Truda behind them. Kell was the first to speak to the young man who stood in the doorway of the bar, "Who the hell are you?"
Stepping forward he walked into the bar and answered, "Zack Strife and if you harmed my sister at all I swear I'll kill you."
"We'll see about that.Zeek get the girl," said Kell not taking his eyes off the intruder. Zeek turned and stepped to the side trying to avoid the sword that shot out toward him. He kicked it out of her hands then grabbed his knife. She attempted a punch on him but he dodged and grabbed her from behind holding the knife to her silky skin on her throat. Zack was ready too run up when 5 other people restained him. Kell followed the large group as they pulled Zack away from the bar and into the nearby alley. The 5 gang members held Zack against the wall of the Seventh Heaven while Kell walked up to Zack and stared at him straight in the eye.
"Now who has who you little brat. What are you going to do huh. Save your baby sister," Kell smirked as the young man struggled to get free but failed.
"If you or anyone else here hurts her I swear you will pay with your life," said Zack through gritted teeth.
"Not only did I get to meet the son and daughter of the great Cloud Strife but I get to kill them as well and there's nothing you can do about it," Kell laughed then made his way to the bar.
Zack struggled but he couldn't throw the five men away. If the number was lower he would have been able too. "Sorry mom and dad I failed," he kept whispering to himself. Suddenly he heard a voice from the alley. He and the 5 gang members looked to see two figures standing at the opening in the alley way. Zack was filled with hope at who he was seeing.
"Let him go before you all pay with your pathectic lives."
Truda sat tied up on a stool with Zeek finishing the knot. Truda saw Kell walk into the room and she immediatly got up only to be pushed back onto the stool.
She stared at Kell with her blue eyes bright with anger and hatred aimed directly at him. She yelled, "You better not have hurt him or..." she was stopped when Kell interupted.
"Or what. You gonna kill me. Don't make me laugh,"replied Kell. He heard something outside and turned to Zeek, "Go check it out.Probably some animal."
Zeek nodded and walked outside. Seconds later Kell heard Zeek scream out. "What the hell?"cried Kell. Truda laughed thus making Kell even madder. "What's so funny?"
"You are you no good bastard," said Truda.
Not liking what she said he pulled out his long knife and lunged toward her only to meet up with someone's fist and fall back. The person who's fist that had come to his head before came at his face again as he got up, this time breaking his nose. The person knocked the knife out of his hand then kicked Kell causing him to now be lying on his back completely. Within a few seconds there was a large glowing sword with its point right under his chin. He could see the person standing over him was non-other than the leader of Avalance and savior of the planet, a very angry Cloud Strife. Behind him Tifa Lockheart-Strife likewise enraged followed by a now free Truda and Zack Strife.
"I should kill you right here you little son of a bitch," said the enraged Cloud Strife. Pushing the sword closer to the gang leader's chin.
Tifa turned to her son and daughter and said, "You two go home.Your father and I will take care of this."
Zack nodded and began past his father and Truda's attempted murderer. Truda nodded then looked at the man who attempted to take her life, Kell and the man who gave her the life that she had now her father, Cloud Strife. Walking past both of them she followed Zack up the stairs to their home.
Kell felt the cold point of the blade on his chin. He muttered, "So why haven't you killed me yet. I almost killed your precious little daughter. So come on kill me if you're going to."
"Trust me I'd love too and I will as soon as we're done with some questions," said Cloud through clenched teeth.
"What makes you think I'll answer any of them knowing that I'll be dead after I do," replied Kell feeling the blade pushing harder under his chin.
"That will determain your death being slow or quick. Slow if you don't answer them and quick so you will not feel too much pain although you desearve every bit of pain we can give," said Tifa her eyes narrowing on the gang leader.
"I know you don't live in this town and neither do any of your dead buddies so why are you here," asked Cloud.
"I won't tell you anything so go ahead kill me," Kell continued, "I couldn't kill or capture those weak kids of yours so my boss will kill me anyway. So come on kill me."
"My pleasure," said Cloud as he prepared to strike. He felt his wife's hand on his shoulder.
"Wait Cloud, I want to see if he'll tell us who he's working for," Cloud nodded still having the sword in a ready to kill position. Tifa turned her eyes back to Kell and asked, "Tell us who your working for."
He shook his head and laughed. Then replied, "You'll never get that answer out of me."
Cloud knew Kell wasn't going to say anything he picked the gang leader up. Cloud quickly stabbed the gang leader running his sword clean through the gang leader. "That's for my children."
Cloud put the sword in the scabbard on his back then grabbed the lifeless body of Kell and slung it over his shoulder. Tifa followed Cloud as he walked out the door. Locking the door they both headed to the dumpster truck at the front of town. After throwing the body in with the rest of Kell's gang the truck drove off taking the bodies to the Midgar graveyard by Cloud's orders.
Cloud and Tifa began to head to their home. Both silent for a while until Cloud spoke "I'd really like to know who that son of a bitch was working for." Tifa nodded.
"The other thing I would like to know is what anybody would want with our kids," questioned Tifa. Cloud and she just killed a whole gang who was there to capture or kill their children. Both easily freed Zack when he was surrounded by 5 members of the gang. With his help also killed them. Then the other two were killed not too much long after.
"If we ever find out we'll take care of them," replied Cloud as they walked up the steps leading to the Strife mansion. Tifa agreed with him but how could they handle something that they know nothing of yet.
Zack heard the door to the mansion open then shut. He looked up from the sofa that Truda and him were sitting on waiting for their parents to return. He saw Cloud walk in with Tifa right behind him.truda had her head buried in her hands realizing that in the this same night she almost not only got herself killed but almost her brother also. Zack sat beside trying to talk to her and reassured her that it wasn't just her fault but his also for saying what he had said after being attacked by the scorpion like creature. Shade tried to help in comforting both Zack and Truda. The husky was no longer a small pup but a dog the size of a wolf who was loyal and protective when it came down to house and its occupants. He now layed at Zack's feet taking a nap. Zack and him turned out to be the best of friends. Zack would usually take Shade with him when he practiced or hunted. He would only leave him home if his parents had a meeting to attend or if they were just going somewhere out of town.
Truda looked up to see who entered the house. Concerned written all over both her parents' faces. Tifa went to Truda and kneeled in front of her. Tifa asked,"Are you okay sweet-heart?" Truda only nodded. Tifa got up and began to the kitchen.
Cloud turned to Zack."Zack, why don't you go help your mom in the kitchen? I want to talk to Truda alone for a moment." Zack looked confused. He was never one to be good in the kitchen.
Truda giggled despite her guilt, "Dad you know he's just as bad as you are in the kitchen." All three laughed at the remark.
"Yeah, I'm just as bad as you if not worse, Dad. Mom knows that too so I'll probably get kicked out of the kitchen right away but I'll go anyway." With those words Zack was off to the kitchen. Cloud watched Zack go into the kitchen then turned to Aeris. Sitting down next to her. Folding both hands together he laid his arms on his knees.
Truda broke the silence, "Are mom and you mad at me?"
Cloud shook his head. "Not mad but upset. You shouldn't have ran away from Zack. You also know not to use the key for the bar unless it was an emergency. Kell and his gang would have never found you if you went straight home, Truda."
"I know Dad. I'm sorry," replied Truda.
"Truda, sorry wouldn't have replaced you if you died. Don't you understand? You're the only daughter I'll ever have, Truda. You can't be replaced. If you died I don't know what I would've done," yelled Cloud moisture in his eyes.
Truda stood up looking directly into her father's eyes. Her eyes began to hold tears of her own. "I'm not helpless Dad. I wouldn't have died. Why is it that the youngest in the family is considered the one needing the most protection. Everyone in this house including Shade is overprotective of me. Someday I'll prove to all of you that I am no helpless child. I'm 17 now not 10. I can protect myself."
When she finished she heard a snicker come from the doorway. There stood Zack. "From what I've seen dear sister we're protecting you from your carelessness mostly," said Zack looking at Truda.
Truda looked at him with anger. Cloud saw that if he didn't get involved Truda would run off again. Cloud looked at Zack and asked, "I thought I asked you to go help your mother." Zack shrugged.
"She didn't need me right now." Cloud shook his head. Zack had a huge curiosity so he knew Zack would have been back at some point in time.
Cloud looked around for any sign of Truda. Both Zack and him knew where she was when they heard a loud slam of a door upstairs. Looking a little disgusted by Zack's words Cloud told his son, "You know you didn't have to say that," he paused. "I guess I had better head up and try to talk to her."
"No Dad, I will. I'm the one who caused it twice so I'll go up," said Zack feeling guilty for making his own sister run off both times. Cloud nodded and sat back down. He knew Zack could fix it. Truda and Zack usually worked out any differences in their brother and sister arguments within one or two days. Usually less than one day.
After Zack disappeared upstairs Cloud sat feeling guilty himself for yelling at his daughter. Tifa knew what Cloud acted like when he felt guilty. Seeing him like this she came up and sat next to him. Cloud looked at Tifa his childhood friend and wife. He smiled gently but it quickly changed into a frown.
Tifa knew for sure now that Cloud felt guilty about something. She slipped an arm around his waist and leaned against him in a attempt to comfort. He started stroking her hair in a attempt to get his mind off his guilt. She looked up at him and said, "You know that wasn't your fault or Zack's. Truda has always been the stubborn one like someone else I know."
"No she's right. I am overprotective of her. I yelled at her. Sephiroth was right. I'm a failure especially to both Truda and Zack. I've even failed to save you when you were in trouble."
"That's not true Cloud. You saved me from all loneliness not to mention during our fighting years.You've never been a failure in my eyes or our children's," replied Tifa upset that he thought he was still a failure even after all those years.
"Alright so I'm not a failure to you but to Zack and Truda I am. I've failed as a father. Truda is right she's old enough to take care of herself. I guess I just don't want her to grow up."
"Cloud neither Zack or Truda think that. Neither do I. I don't want them to grow up either but everyone must. If you believe you failed as a father then I guess I must be a failure when it comes to being a mother," whispered Tifa.
Cloud shook his head. "You're not a failure and you're right.I guess I'm not either. Do you think Zack can calm her down?"
"If anyone could it would be Zack," answered Tifa. Tifa gave him a quick kiss then walked back to the kitchen. Cloud watched her go then looked at the staircase where Zack had disappeared a few minutes earlier.
Zack went up the staircase and down the hall. Stopping at the second door to the left he gently rapped his knuckles against the oak door. "Truda ,can I come in?" He could hear her gentle sobbing and immediately regretted what he had said to his little sister moments ago.
She got up and opened the door. Motioning him inside she replied, "Yes you can come in." With that she sat on the foot of the bed and patted a spot next to her. Zack accepted and looked at her blue eyes.
Feeling extremely horrible for his words now more than before he said, "I am extremely sorry sis. I was really dumb to say it again knowing it hurt you. If there's anything I can do to make up for you then tell me."
Truda shook her head, "No you don't have to make up for it. I shouldn't have blown up at you or Dad. First I did it to you after we fought that scorpion and then at Dad when he was just trying to tell me to be more careful. You're right about me being careless. I was almost killed twice in one day and almost got you killed."
"Truda, I heard you saying that we are too protective I decided to tell you why I am. You're my younger sister. I guess you could call it an older brother thing. Dad is like that cause its a parent thing. The same for mom. And Shade is loyal to his owners. It's kinda like Red protecting the canyon. We're just as important to Shade as the canyon is to Red," Zack smiled knowing the same was for him except Truda cared for him in a younger sister to older brother way.
Truda hugged him then added, "Thanks dear brother. You've always been the best big brother anyone could ever have."
Zack hugged her back and said, "Same here."
Truda laughed. "I'm not your older brother."
"You know what I meant, little sis," replied Zack then burst out laughing also.
"We better head back down.I still have another person to apoligize to," replied Truda as she and Zack headed to the door. Walking down the stairs they could see Cloud with his arms crossed waiting for both to show up against the wall.
Cloud saw them then walked towards them. "I guess that means you solved it right Zack." Zack nodded then began to the kitchen to see what his mother was doing. Cloud then continued, "I'm sorry Truda. I know you hate us being over protective of you. Maybe if I could see it in yours or Zack's point of veiw I'd understand why you get mad but if you could see it through my eyes then you would understand what makes me the overprotective father that I am."
"I'm the one that needs to say sorry.I'm being selfish knowing that you all care like that but I guess its just hard to believe.I'm really sorry for overreacting," finished Truda. With that she quickly jumped at Cloud and wrapped him into a hug. He hugged back.
Tifa walked into the room. She smiled even though she had seen her husband and daughter together many times it always touched her. Cloud was always the one to be cold to people but he seemed to let it crumble when he was around his family. He just couldn't act that way around them.
"Dinner's ready, you two," said Tifa watching the two unwrap themselves to look at her.Zack came up beside Tifa and added, "The table's all set now thanks to me."
Tifa gently smacked Zack on the back of his head with her hand. Zack looked at her with a what-did-I-do expression. "Zack Strife, all you did is place the plates."
"That wasn't my fault that it was practically set when I came back," replied Zack rubbing the back of his head. Cloud laughed,"That's my boy.Always trying to get out of helping in the kitchen."
Tifa pointed an accusing finger at him, "Don't get him started."
"Well , I'm starved so let's get some grub," said Truda heading into the dining room. Tifa followed her in with Zack and Cloud in tow.
Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic