When the Bond Breaks part 2 TITLE: When the Bonds Break part 2 RATING: R (language) WORD COUNT: 659 AUTHOR'S NOTE: This part ended up being much longer than I intended, but it worked, so there you go. I'll work on this some more in the next day or two... Yazuu's next part is relatively short (at least in my head it is), then the part with Rufus may get me killed. :-p
There were more vehicles in front of the church than Cloud was comfortable with. He had chosen this place, deep in the ruins of Midgar, because it was abandoned and he could be left alone with his guilt and uselessness. But now there was a helicopter with the Shinra logo, a well-armored car, and the open-aired vehicle that Tifa often used crowded together near the doors. Carefully he parked away from all of them, made sure his sword was easily available, and walked in.
There was a new hole in the floor to his immediate left. Two or three of the back benches were knocked over or missing entirely. Ahead, just in front of the bed of flowers, four people stood around a prone body, looking at him with varying but unreadable expressions. As he tried to take it all in, something small and furious crashed into his side.
“Where have you been?” A tiny but hard fist punched him in the abdomen. “Why won’t you come home?” Another punch, this one hard enough to make him grunt. “Cloud, why won’t –“
He caught Marlene’s wrists carefully. She was in more danger of hurting herself than dealing any real damage to him. “Marlene, what are you going here?”
“We were looking for you,” she answered, tugging her hands free. He looked up to the group who had stopped speaking when he walked in. “Why do you live here now?”
He shook his head, neither willing nor quite able to answer her question. “Tifa, what happened here?” He took a careful step forward, once again not sure where he stood with her.
Tifa’s eyes shined with the nervous energy that was the side effect of the Elixir Rude had silently offered when he and Reno had responded to calls about a fight in old Midgar. Reno crouched down beside the silver-haired, black-clad body, examining the large weapon without touching anything. Reeve looked worriedly about him, fingers twitching as if he wanted to be holding a remote control. The silence dragged on until the flowers gently rustled. Finally, Tifa sighed. “I know this is where you would go. We were attacked. I killed him.”
Cloud’s eyes widened in shock. He stared at Tifa, and then at the silver-haired corpse that had been laughing at him from the back of a motorcycle recently. “H-how…”
He mouth set in a thin line. “I had something to fight for,” she said, her eyes sliding to look at Marlene. “Don’t you?”
Rude cleared his throat uncomfortably as Reno gave him a look that clearly said, “It’s time to get the fuck outta here.” Reeve was examining the atoms of the bench closest to him. Cloud lowered his chin to his chest and dropped his gaze. “I…”
“Cloud, why didn’t you tell us you were sick?” Marlene presented the old bandage as evidence.
He was having trouble getting his tongue to work. He touched the hidden Geostigma scab out of habit. That made Tifa stride forward suddenly, grabbing the cloth that covered his arm. One sharp pull tore the fabric away. “Why can’t you trust me?” she yelled, blazing with more anger than he had ever seen directed at him.
Two ringing phones saved him from the answer he didn’t have. Rude listened to his, and then grunted an answer. Snapping the phone shut, he tilted his head towards the helicopter outside. Reno was uncharacteristically silent as they hurried out.
Reeve had a hand over his ear and a frown on his face as he tried to make out what someone was telling him. Then he focused on Tifa and Cloud. “There’s another?”
“There were three,” Cloud murmured.
Reeve held up his hand to forestall any other comments until the other person finished answering him. “I’m on the way,” he finally said before clicking the phone off. He nodded at the pair. “Another one has been spotted in the slums with some of the sick children.”