Shattered Dreams & Sleeping Pills Chapter 5
Father & Daughter
Tifa slumped down in her chair. A glass of untouched water sat on the table in front of her. She drummed her fingers as she sat thinking about the fight. She had been doing that a lot lately. She could see that scene replay in front of her eyes. It wasnt the actual fight that bothered her, in fact, that part didnt even interest her. It was what happened later, after everything had been cleaned up that intrigued her. She couldnt figure out how they could sit back down and ignore eachother after what had taken place.
Turning her head so that she was looking towards the window, Tifa drifted away from reality, allowing the fight to take place again behind her closed eyelids.
It was perhaps a couple weeks after the fight. Tifa never bothered to keep track of the days anymore. All she knew were when to leave for work, and when to come back. She let her stomach tell her if she was hungry or not. Very often she was not.
There had been no commotion after the fight. Tifa didnt know what she had been expecting, but it certainly wasnt this. Neither Jessie, Biggs, or Wedge had returned to the bar after that night. Tifa didnt mind, she preferred it if she didnt have to talk to anybody. And if they had returned to the bar, she would certainly have to talk with them. Shinra had neither talked about it on the news, nor had they sent soldiers to the bar. It was as if the whole thing hadnt happened. This was the exact same reaction the customers had had after the fight. They ignored the fact that it had ever taken place. Thinking about it led Tifa to believe that perhaps Shinra and the slums werent as different as everyone believed.
The more she thought about it, the more it made sense. The people in the bar during the fight had completely ignored that it had ever happened. Shinra was now doing the same thing. The slums hated Shinra, and Shinra hated the slums. The people in both were dirty, lying bastards who couldnt care less about anything but themselves and their money. To survive in either world you HAD to be like that, there was no other way.
Tifa shook her head. No, she thought. The slums and Shinra are very different. I live in the slums! How can I say I have anything in common with them?! A thin smile crept across her face. How indeed? Shinra certainly cant say they have anything in common with me.
Loud gunshots from outside brought Tifa out of her thoughts. She got up from the small card table and moved over to the window. Looking down on the scene below, she watched as Shinra troopers piled out of two company vans which had been patrolling the street. They quickly surrounded the man firing the shots. From her vantage point, Tifa could see that he was big, probably twice as big as the Shinra troopers. It looked like he had a child on his shoulder, though Tifa couldnt be sure. The man was firing his gun like a madman. Strange, Tifa thought, it almost looks as if the bullets are coming from his arm.
They were beginning to draw a crowd now. People gathered around the soldiers, who had formed a large circle. Tifa stood up and left the apartment, deciding to go down and see for herself what all the commotion was about.
As she entered the street and pushed her way through the crowd, Tifa saw that indeed the man had a gun grafted onto his right arm where ones hand would normally be. He towered above the troopers, shooting his gun and showing no sign of surrendering. On the other side of the crowd, Tifa thought she saw Wedge, but he disappeared again before she could be sure.
Finally, after what had seemed like an eternity of hiding behind their shields, the soldiers managed to get the child off his back. This sent him into even more of a fury. Two troopers dragged the girl away while the others closed the gap to block him off. Tifa quickly looked from the circle of soldiers to the two taking the little girl up the street. She turned her gaze back to the fight. The soldiers were once again hiding behind their shields, yet refusing to let the man out of their circle. Without knowing exactly what she was going to do, Tifa turned and ran in the direction the two troopers had gone in.
It didnt take her long to catch up. The troopers each held an arm, and had succeeded in dragging her further up the street, but the little girl seemed to be fighting them. Tifa chuckled to herself. A miniature version of her father, she thought as she continued to chase the guards.
Tifa saw where they were heading. There was another van parked further up the street. They were probably going to take her to their commander.
Before they reached the van however, Tifa was upon them. She sent one of the guards to the ground with a kick to his spine. His back arched at impact, and he ended up falling face first on the ground. Seeing this, the girl broke away from the other soldier and hid behind a garbage dump in a nearby alley.
Tifa turned to deal with the other trooper. She knocked the gun out of his hand and punched him in the face. By now, the other trooper was crawling over to where he had dropped his gun. Tifa saw him out of the corner of her eye. She moved backwards and stepped on his hand. He drew his arm back and tried to knock her off her feet. Tifa didnt realize what he was doing, and fell backwards, right on top of him. The second soldier took this opportunity to retrieve his dropped gun. Tifa saw what he was doing and clambered over top of the soldier, trying to reach the other gun. She felt something pierce her arm, but paid no attention to it.
They reached the guns at the same time. Shifting her position, Tifa brought hers up to meet the mako gun of the soldier. They remained like that for what seemed like hours, when really it was probably only a couple of minutes, max. Tifa was crouching on top of the trooper and the guard was standing up, pointing his gun at her.
As the first trooper tried to throw Tifa off his back, the other one laughed.
"I bet you dont even know how to use that thing!" he sneered.
"Would you really like to take that chance?" Tifa replied in a deadly voice.
The trooper succeeded in getting her off. Tifa fell backwards a bit, but maintained her balance and continued to crouch on the ground. The soldier limped over to his friend. The two of them laughed boisterously at Tifa, who was awkwardly pointing her gun at the troopers.
Further down the street, Tifa could still hear gunshots, which meant the fight was still going on. She was glad, the little girl still had a father.
The girl. Her eyes wandered over the garbage dump where she was hiding. Her face looked surprisingly calm. Tifa guessed she must have seen this kind of thing a lot.
Her eyes returned to the soldiers, still laughing noisily. Tifa could not for the life of her figure out why. What was so funny about having a gun pointed at you? She smiled as she remembered something a friend had said to her once before; "Forget sleep. If I have to die, I want to die laughing."
She fired. The two troopers fell dead in an instant. The little girl winced and shifted her position. Tifa put the gun down and walked over to her. She crouched down so that she was looking her in the eye.
"Hey there, whats your name?" she asked softly.
"Marlene. Whore you?" she asked accusingly.
"Im Tifa. Why dont you come out from there? It cant smell very nice."
She drew further back behind the dump. "Why should I?"
Tifa couldnt believe what she was hearing. This girl, Marlene, had the body of a six year old, but the attitude of a teenager. "Why would I hurt you?" she asked in her softest voice. "I just saved your life. Cmon, Ill help you find your daddy."
Marlene looked at Tifa doubtfully. "Youre not one of those Shinra assholes, are you?"
Tifas eyes widened, "Where did you learn language like that?"
"Thats what my daddy calls them. You promise youll help me find him?"
"I promise, cmon." Tifa reached out her hand towards little girl. Marlene looked at it for a second, then reluctantly took it.
Tifa backed up so that she could get out. She straightened the girls pink bow, and wiped away a smudge of dirt on her cheek. Marlene looked at her expectantly. "Well? Lets go!"
Tifa smiled sadly as she took Marlenes hand. They walked slowly down the street toward the crowds. As they walked, Tifa looked down at the little girl in the pink dress. She showed no signs of knowing what her father had gotten himself into. As they continued to walk down the street, no more gunfire was heard.
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