Shattered Dreams & Sleeping Pills Chapter 20
Train Ride From Hell
The train was surprisingly busy for five in the morning. Shinra employees sat side-by-side, hoping they wouldn't run into any security problems and wind up late for work. When Rude and Tifa boarded the last car, there were only three seats left; two on one side, and another right across the aisle. They took the two side-by-side and sat in silence, waiting for the train to pull away.
He smiled at her once, then turned his face away to gaze out the far window. Tifa noticed that he seemed strangely distant, and grew worried. The train started up and it wasn't long before they were speeding towards the station in Sector Eight.
"First's train's always a round trip," she said, aching to break the silence.
He nodded, but said nothing.
"There something wrong?"
"Why should there be?" There was that voice again; distant, cold, uncaring. Tifa wondered if it was because of something that she had done. Shaking the thought from her mind, she turned to gaze out the window behind her, curious as to how so much had come between them in such a short space of time. The train slowed, then came to a stop. A few passengers got off, while more came on board. One man sat down across from her and Rude. He winked and flashed a grin at her. She suddenly found the silence unbearable, and struggled to find a topic as the train once again pulled out of the station.
"So, where do you live?"
The conversation died yet again, and after another silence, Tifa noticed that the train was once again slowing to come into the station. We must be at Sector One by now, she thought, mentally calculating how much longer the train ride would take.
"Who were you trying to kill?" she asked suddenly. A couple people looked up, but none seemed very interested in the topic.
"Don't bring that up."
"Cuz it's over."
She blinked a couple times and was about to pursue the topic when her eye caught a man in a blue suit boarding the train. Tifa recognized him as the same person who had entered the bar earlier, then turned and left.
He walked calmly in their direction, then stopped and stood in front of the man who sat across from them.
"Move," he said, his voice as cold as Rude's.
The man fidgeted a bit, but stayed seated.
"Move," he repeated.
Finally, he stood and began muttering curses under his breath as he shuffled off towards a different car.
Unfazed, the man seated himself right across from her and Rude, his eyes locked on the two of them.
Rude began to fidget, and Tifa noticed him avert his eyes from the man's harsh glare. The whisperings of the Shinra employees made Tifa nervous, and she silently ridiculed herself for being frightened so easily. Master Zangan would never approve.
The train took off again, and Tifa turned around in her seat to look out the window.
He didn't speak, and that was the worst part of it all. He just sat there with an amused sort of smirk on his face, enjoying every minute of Rude's torment. In an effort to control himself, Rude returned his stare, trying in vain to convey a sense of certainty in his actions.
It wasn't long before the train was once again slowing down. Shinra's really outdone themselves with these rush hour express trains, he thought as even more people boarded. The lack of seats forced some of them to stand, and Rude was greatly relieved when an elderly woman stopped to stand right between him and Tseng.
I just don't think I can do it, he thought, looking over at the beautiful girl who sat on his left. She smiled a little then turned back to the window, having given up on conversation a long time ago.
But then again, how can I not? Looking around the woman who stood before him, Rude tried to examine the Turk leader's expression. He had made no move to continue staring at Rude once his vision was blocked, and Rude was all the more thankful for the human barrier. If he'd seen that calm and serious face peeking around the lady, he thought he'd flip.
Finding himself caught in the middle between beauty and power, Rude reached in his pocket for his gun. He stroked the smooth surface for a bit, strangely comforted by its presence.
Turning his head to look back over at Tifa, he was slightly relieved to find that she didn't notice him. Curious as to how she could maintain her beauty and innocence despite all that had presumably happened to her, Rude was tempted to ask her exactly what Sephiroth had done. Remembering Tseng's presence however, he swallowed the words and contented himself by just looking at her. He supposed that Zangan had taught her to survive, strengthened her spirit with his martial arts. The real mystery though, was why she was allowing him to get so close to her. He had been through half as much as her, and contained none of her beauty. He was a lousy alcoholic who was out for power while she was a gorgeous bar hostess, full of hope and dreams. They were complete opposites, so why was she sitting next to him?
The train slowed once again and Rude turned to look out the window behind him. Sector Three Station. I should be getting off here, he thought to himself, but remained seated as the train sped out of the station.
Returning to his dilemma, he tried to reason it out. On the one hand, there was power, money, and the adventure that came with doing Shinra's dirty work. If he was going to kill more people, he couldn't hesitate with this one. It had to be smooth; it had to be done.
But then, on his left was Tifa, the very person he was supposed to kill. Young, talented, and full of dreams, she sat beside him like a fallen angel. A broken past behind her and a bright future still to come. To kill her would be to destroy that future, shatter the dreams, and break her soul.
Damn it, didn't I already decide on this? Why can't I just do something and be done with it?
A soft voice came to his ears, and he suddenly realized that the train had stopped.
"Rude? You coming?"
He looked up at her, then around the elderly woman to Tseng. Standing, he patted the gun in his pocket once more. "Yeah," he said, following her off the train. "I'm coming."
Aw geez, everything sucks for Tifa now! She doesn't know it yet, but everything sucks for her. Not to worry, she'll find out soon enough, and then she'll have plenty of time to brood about how awful her life is.
Go To Chapter 21
Return To FF7 Fanfic