Step 37: Facing Reality
Step 37: Facing Reality
After my confession about having nightmares, it was decided that something had to be done. "There's a dangerous enemy out there and the mafia situation is getting worse. We don't know if there's a connection or not, but regardless of that, both problems need to be dealt with. We need you at your best, sorry to say it, but there's no time for you to learn how to deal with things step by step. This will either make you stronger or break you, but I believe that if you ever had the potential to overcome your past, you will do it regardless of how hard it is." From a certain angle Rufus might have sounded harsh, but his words also showed that he does have faith in me.
I'm reassured now that I've gone from being the issue to being part of the resources that are needed to solve the current issues. I nodded tiredly, "I will handle things," even if it means facing the monsters in my sleep.
xoxox xox xoxox
I didn't know where Rufus and the Turks were taking me; I just followed them like a zombie and got in the car, where I dozed off for a while and woke with a startle. I had more nightmares and they were even worse than before. Lucrecia transformed into Jenova and Hojo murdered her, in the background there was a silver haired child crying helplessly, unable to do anything or even move.
When I got out of the car along with the group, the six of us traveling in two cars, I noticed that we were in front of the Seventh Heaven. Maybe facing Cloud is their way to make me face me past and hopefully learn to deal with it.
We enter the Seventh Heaven and occupy the stools in front of the bar, which suspiciously became available as we came in. Tifa greets us with her usual cheer, but Cloud looks uneasy. He glares at us, mostly at me, and shares his theory, "I suspect you really are Sephiroth."
The entire establishment falls eerily silent; the murmurs of random customers in the background have died down so suddenly it feels like someone hit the pause button during the noisiest part of a movie.
"Alright, I confess," I hope Rufus knows what he's doing. I have a feeling I might understand what's happening better if I had been awake during the meeting. "The rumors are many, but the sources are not reliable," does he mean that the rumor originated from the mafia and spread to civilians? Is the mafia trying to reveal my identity aside from spreading rumors of the Turks working for the Platinum Witch? "This man is Sephiroth's long lost twin brother, Seph. He was declared a failed experiment and never permitted to join Soldier. His health was very fragile until recently, in an effort to make up for Shinra's past deeds, we provided him with medical treatment until he was cured and now he's even healthy enough to be a Turk."
Suspense hangs in the air as people deliberate if Rufus is telling the truth or not, then Reno decides to support the president and reassure everyone by putting me in a headlock and messing up my hair. "Would the real Sephiroth let me live after this?" I want to kill him, but the fact that I miraculously manage not to has cleared me of the suspicions of being... me.
It seems a poorly made Sephiroth clone, a failed experiment, isn't as interesting as the real Sephiroth, so everyone goes back their business, resuming their previous conversations as if the pause had never occurred.
Cloud looks thoughtful, solemn and supportive? "It must have been hard, to be treated as a failure, to be left in a fragile state of health and to be accused of being like Sephiroth." I don't know what to say so I remain quiet as Cloud continues. "I can relate to what you're going through, I'm sorry I doubted you."
I am speechless and Cloud is an idiot. Watch out Reno, someone is trying to steal your title of biggest idiot in the world. I can only accomplish a silent nod and instead focus in the effort of fixing my hair with my hands.
"I would let you borrow my brush, but with my bad luck with hair, it's probably jinxed," Cloud comments. I don't want his brush touching my hair anyway.
"You have a hairbrush?" Reno laughs. "Brushes are for girls, real men don't need them, right Rude?" Reno runs his fingers through his hair as if to prove a point and does the opposite.
"Don't listen to him, you can borrow my brush," Tifa offers before I can say anything and disappears up the stairs to retrieve the hairbrush, arriving with it seconds later. "I'll help," she starts to brush my hair. Elena played with it, that geeky girl from the databases played with it and now Tifa.
xoxox xox xoxox
How did I get myself into this? What was Rufus thinking? "Trying to clean your name?" I growl through my teeth.
The president smiles, "of course, and it's also a test."
I can read between his words very clearly. If I can survive tonight without killing anyone, I can survive just about anything. "You're taking a big risk..."
"Have some confidence," Rufus is either cocky or desperate and despite the carefree mask, I have reasons to believe it's the second one.
I sigh, then yawn, taking the air I threw out back into my lungs as if it were my worries, I try to get rid of them but can't help it but to keep them. It's late and the Seventh Heaven is closed, but we're still here, we're having a sleepover.
The boys, because it doesn't feel like we can be called men given the situation, are crowded in Cloud's small room. I don't know when Tseng had the time to pack pajamas, but he did and he retrieved them from the car's trunk and handed them out as if we had all planned this together, now we have changed into them, to put ourselves in the sleepover mood.
I can still clearly picture Cloud's face when Rufus suggested having a friendly sleepover to help them all become better friends and Tifa exclaimed delighted "that's a wonderful idea!" I suppose the idea of Cloud being annoyed does make it more pleasant.
It was revealed that Blaze's babysitters were actually Marlene and Denzel, Blaze is with us and so is Denzel since it was decided that all the boys were sleeping in Cloud's room despite the confining space, and the girls would sleep in Tifa's room. I never imagined Tifa owned this many sleeping bags but she dug out one after another from various places, closets, from under furniture and so on. I suppose she's used to having the former members of Avalanche stay over.
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Final Fantasy VII.