Shattered Dreams & Sleeping Pills Chapter 6

Poisonous Memories

By WindWolf

Loud footsteps thundered up the street. Three other people followed, one of them lagging slightly. "MARLENE!" a loud voice bellowed out.

Marlene looked up and let go of Tifa’s hand. "Daddy?!"

"Marlene!" both Marlene and her father ran towards eachother. The big man scooped her up easily and swung her around, laughing. Tifa shook her head, trying to clear the memories of home they brought to her mind. It couldn’t be helped. Marlene’s cheerful laughing flooded her with good memories. Good at the time. Now, any memory of home was a painful one.

The clock on the mantle struck six. Tifa strained her ear, listening for the footsteps she knew should be coming up the path. Sure enough, she heard her father nearing the house. Opening the door, Tifa ran outside to meet him. He picked her up and swung her around. Max, who was normally lazing by the well, jumped up beside them. Her dad put her down, and Tifa began to chase Max around the yard. Her mother came out and stood on the porch, watching them.

"Okay, that’s enough. You’re not wearing a coat and it’s chilly out."

Tifa grinned and ran in the house. There was a fire going in the living room. Tifa lay down on the floor beside Max and picked up her book. Her dad put another log on the fire. Just like he had done the night Nibelheim burnt down...

Tifa sank to her knees and buried her face in her hands, trying to hold back the tears she knew were coming. She felt a hand touch her shoulder. Looking up, her eyes met those of Marlene’s. The young girl was looking at her with a very concerned look on her face.

"Tifa? Are you okay? You look sad."

Lost in her bittersweet memories, Tifa had once again forgotten that she wasn’t alone. She looked up at the people standing around her. The big man with the gun arm was there, and so were Biggs, Jessie, and Wedge.

"Yes. I’m fine. I was just reminded of home, that’s all." She stood up, wobbling slightly.

"Are you sure?" the big man asked, taking a step closer.

Tifa backed away from him. "Yes, really, I’m fine. I think I’m just going to go home-I mean, back to my apartment." She backed away from them, clutching her right arm.

"You don’t look fine. Let me take a look at that arm," Jess said, moving towards her and reaching out.

"No!" Tifa jerked away. "Really, I’m fine. I don’t want to be a burden to anybody. I’m alright, please."

"Are you sure you don’t want Jess to look at your arm? She’s pretty good at that kinda thing." Biggs said.

"No, really, I’m fine. Please, just leave me alone. I want to be alone."

"Alright, but I really think Jess should take a look at your arm."

"No, it’s alright, just a scratch. Maybe I’ll, I’ll see you later. Okay? Bye." She ran past them and down the street. They all turned and watched her go, shaking their heads. She hadn’t gotten very far when she stumbled. Tifa recovered her balance though, and began walking down the street, crossing over at random places and holding her arms out for balance. Finally, she collapsed onto the street.

Jess swore and jogged down the street towards her. The others followed suit. She rolled Tifa onto her back and examined her right arm.

"Poison," she stated grimly.

"How can you tell?" Marlene asked quietly.

Jess dabbed her finger on the wound, getting a bit of blood on it. She held the finger out to Marlene. "See how it has little swirls of green in it? That means she was poisoned by mako. The stuff is very dangerous. Only if you build up a resistance to it over time would you have a chance of surviving a large amount of it in your blood stream. Shinra soldiers carry pens of it, almost. I have a couple back home. Maybe I’ll show you how they work later. Right now, we need to get Tifa to a doctor. Does anybody have any antidote with them?"

"I might." Wedge searched his pockets, finally producing a small vial of clear paste.

"These things only work short-term. But it’ll do until we get her to a proper doctor." She looked up, "Barret? Can you carry her? There’s a small doctor’s office a couple blocks away from here," Jess said, dabbing the paste on Tifa’s wound.

"Sure." Barret picked the young teenager up easily and followed Jess, Biggs, and Wedge down the street. Marlene ran alongside her father holding Tifa’s limp hand.


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