Shattered Dreams & Sleeping Pills Chapter 13

Guns & Angels

By WindWolf

"Are you sure?"

"Almost positive. He came into the shop, put his sunglasses on, and bought a gun."

"How much was it?"

"I dunno. It was expensive, maybe around 600?"

"You're sure it was him then?"

"Sure as I can be."

It seemed like ages ago that Marlene had been shot, when really it wasn't even a week. Tifa had tried to forget about it; Marlene's shoulder had healed, there was no reason to remember it anymore. But Barret hadn't let her forget. Barret never let her forget.

He brought it up over and over again, saying it was all Shinra's doin', an' they were destroying the planet, and all that. He would talk about the burning of Corel, even though it was painful for him, at least five times a week. Tifa didn't want to hear it. Towns burning, it reminded her too much of Nibelheim.

Sometimes, she wondered if he kept bringing Corel up because it was the only way he could deal with it all. But if that was the case, at the very least he could be more considerate towards her. Couldn't he tell that she didn't want to hear it?

None of the others seemed to mind; Barret's ranting was like some kind of battle call for them. Tifa began to think there was something wrong with her, not being affected by his strong speeches, so she spent her time with the only other person who minded; Marlene.

There was much more to the auburn-haired angel than one saw on the surface. She was innocent, and yet somehow not. Though it often seemed her only concern was her favorite doll's hair, Tifa knew that the six-year-old was very aware of all the corruption around her.

Yet she remained innocent. She was sweet and beautiful, and had a voice resembling that of an angel. It was in the way she spoke; she was curious about everything, but asked questions as if she already knew the answer.

They were like sisters, though for Barret's sake Marlene called her "Auntie Tifa". It was strange, being called an aunt when she was only ten years her senior, but Barret would be Barret, and it was best to keep him happy. The two of them would usually play cards while he organized "the troops". Biggs once commented on how she was more a baby-sitter than a terrorist, and Tifa agreed with him to some extent, though she never said so.

Marlene wasn't just a baby-sitting charge; she was a lesson in survival. The girl's beauty was a mystery to Tifa, having lost any beauty she once had ages ago. Midgar had taken it. It had taken the beauty of many children as well. Why not Marlene? What was different about her? Maybe, if she spent enough time with her, she could regain a little bit of her own lost beauty, lost happiness.

Barret didn't understand her. Nobody seemed to, but Barret was a little more important than the others. Somehow, someway, he had managed to raise this angel, and he didn't even realize it.

Granted, he had taken over the role of a father figure to her, if only because of her relationship with Marlene. He tried hard, though why he bothered remained a mystery. There were lots of mysteries around those two.

They were all there then, Barret, Marlene, Jessie, Biggs and Wedge. Biggs was saying how he had sold the bald shooter another gun. Jess was toying with the one he had dropped, digesting the information as they all were. Tifa didn't really see the point, but she listened all the same.

"You're sure you have no idea why he would shoot at you Barret?" Jess asked, turning to look at the big man.

"Sure I'm sure! I've said that a hundred times already, haven't I?"

"I didn't, -"

"Sure ya didn't! Ya never mean anything by it! That's what you wuz gonna say, wasn't it?"

"Barret -"

"What if he comes back? What if he shoots at Marlene again?"

"Then we'll deal with him Barret, but it would help us if we knew why he was after you."

"No it wouldn't! None of that shit matters! All that matters is that some Shinra asshole has gotten it in his head to kill either me or my girl!"

"Barret, we should get going," Biggs said calmly, looking at his watch. "Maybe we can find this guy before he finds you, huh? Jess can run a search on her computer and try an' find him, right Jess?" he looked over at her.

"Well, actually there's not -"

"Right, Jess?" he asked again, stressing the words.

"Uh, yeah, there's probably some sort of search I can run through the database. It may not give us the best results, but it's worth a shot."

Barret grunted. "Alright, lets go run this search-thing. C'mon Marlene, we're leavin'. Say g'night tuh yer aunt."

"'Night Auntie Tifa," the girl said, walking over to her dad and holding her arms up so he could lift her onto his huge shoulders.

"'Night Marlene."

"G'night Teef," Barret said, turning towards the door.

"Night Barret, see ya guys."

"Bye," Wedge said, waving as he walked out of the bar. Jess and Biggs followed, Jess muttering under her breath to Biggs, who tried his best to escape her and catch up to Barret and Marlene.

Tifa smiled a little, then walked back behind the bar to serve some customers. Black had called earlier to say he wouldn't be coming in that night, so Tifa had been free to speak to her friends without fear of losing her job.

It was probably about an hour later when someone walked up to the bar and tapped on it to get her attention.

Tifa was crouched down on the ground with her back to the counter so she couldn't see who it was, but by the grunts and mutterings of the other customers, she could tell it was no one good. Tifa's hand reached for the frying pan, as she tried to mentally calculate how far away the drawer with the gun was. Deciding that she could she could take care of any problem with her fists, she left the frying pan on the shelf, and, rising slowly, turned around to face whoever wanted her attention.

She soon found herself staring down the barrel of a gun.


Hey! This one took me awhile, I had the dialogue at the beginning there for about a month, but it took me awhile to get everything sorted out. It always seems to take me awhile, doesn't it? But that's okay, cuz you love me anyways, don't you? What are you talking about? I'm not insane! Leave me alone! You're all mean! Bye! *Storms off in a huff, then after a moment comes back* Email me and say nice things though, okay?


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