Categories > Games > Final Fantasy 7 > Rain


by KevehKins 1 review

"Rain is a hindrance. It gets in the way of your plans. It gets in the way of living. It's just plain miserable. We wouldn't all carry umbrellas otherwise." A series of events in the life of Re...

Category: Final Fantasy 7 - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Angst,Drama,Humor - Characters: Elena,Reno,Rude,Tseng - Warnings: [!!!] [?] - Published: 2014-08-21 - Updated: 2014-08-21 - 2674 words

Disclaimer: All characters and settings in this piece are based upon and are the property of Square Enix unless otherwise stated. No profit has been made from this piece of fiction.

Chapter 1: Benediction

The purpose of taking Tranquiliser is threefold.

Firstly, taken in adherence with the recommended doses it acts as a mild anti-anxiety drug. It never much relieves anxiety, in my own experience, it just induces that relieved sensation you get when a headache shatters under the hammering weight of five hundred heaping milligrams of aspirin. So basically, people are taking something with a bit more punch than the average painkiller, and mistake it for mental stability.

Which leads me to its second popular usage; take a stronger dose (still within medically sanctioned amounts, of course) of the stuff and it acts as a pretty good painkiller and muscle relaxant. And it's always been my experience that life as a Turk is real fucking painful, and a good, strong Tranquiliser can do more than make me think I've gotten rid of a headache. Rather, it actually can get rid of a headache.

And backaches, and shoulder aches, and knee aches, aches of all kinds, from your garden variety cramp to the searing white hot pain of your tendons shredding to pieces at the delicate touch of a hollow point bullet. Which is part of the reason why I take it so often, I've come across hollow point bullets more often than I'd like in my line of work. Once to be precise, but once is enough.

Two years on and I still have to lay a very particular way when I sleep to avoid rousing the pain gremlin that lives in my shoulder.

Unless I take Tranquiliser, which I do. Regularly.

In fact, I'm taking a few right now, unbeknownst to my bald headed compatriot. Which leads me to the third and most exciting effect of taking Tranquiliser, I call it peace-eating. I call it that partly because you have to eat to get the effect, partly because it sounds really fucking philosophical and profound. And in my experience, people in my line of work tend to believe profundity, even the fake kind. Peace-eating, though, is exactly what it says on the tin, you pop a few more of the Tranquiliser pills than is strictly recommended and about a half hour later you slip into the best damn downward spiral this side of the Crater. Pain relief and scintillating inner Nirvana coated with just a little laziness. And right now, I very sorely need it to survive Mr. Lovestruck across the table from me. I could grind the pills up, lay the dust out in a neat line on the table, and snort it in the most exaggerated, disgusting, ostentatious way and he still wouldn't notice.

He has eyes only for the brunette wading between chipboard tables and chattering patrons, never spilling a drop of the many drinks in her hand.

"I don't get your obsession with coming here." I say to him, rattling my knuckles on the tabletop and looking the place over.

Seventh Heaven is a shit-heap made out of fifty different neon signs displaying weird words, (What the fuck is a Texas?), a pinball machine and mismatched salvaged wood panelling. It all looks pretty tacky to me, and it stinks too, that delightful concoction of sweat, booze and funky pub restroom stench. I can't deny there's a homeliness to it though. It feels like everyone knows each other, at the very least they all know the goof in the body warmer behind the bar and the eye candy barmaid of my companion's dreams. It's still a shit-heap though.

"I like it here." Rude replies at last. "There's a good vibe in this place. It's nice."

He doesn't take his eyes away from the barmaid, so he doesn't catch me raising my eyebrow. I snort, and say 'sap' under my breath. He hears that alright, shooting me the dirtiest look he can muster over the rims of those cheap shades he's wearing.

"What's that?"

"Saint's alive Rude, just admit you have the hots for the chick at the bar already. You have her shifts memorised for fuck sake."

I stifle the urge to laugh as my oh so stoic partner's expression morphs from irritable to shocked. Rude's a dope sometimes, never more so than when it comes to women. Worse yet, he's a dope who thinks he's smooth and unreadable and mysterious because he wears sunglasses indoors. And no one else does that, so it makes him stand out, he says.

I don't have the heart to tell him no one does it because it actually makes people look special.

"It's a nice place." He repeats, in a way that suggests I'm to drop the topic if I know what's good for me. My ever questioning eyebrow arches up my forehead to new, more inquisitive heights. There are so many things wrong with his statement that I can feel my brain trying to coax the Tranquiliser to get the peace where the peace needs to be just so it can tolerate its many wrongs. I take a long breath before answering, unable to hide the derisive humour in my voice.

"It is not a nice place, Rude." I say, half-laughing the words 'nice place'. "It's a crappy place with a hot chick working the bar."

"It's not crappy…" He grumbles. Of course, the hot chick is conspicuously uncommented upon, by Rude at least. For at that moment some disembodied voice shouts "Hey Tifa! How 'bout a song?", and most all of the bar murmurs assent to the idea. Rude's mouth flops open at the very idea of her serenading him. She'd be serenading the bar, of course, but I could tell from the phased out look in his eye (his sunglasses had slipped down to the tip of his nose) in his head she'd only be serenading him.

"I didn't know she sang…" He whispers.

I pray now more than ever I have done for the sweet peace-eating relief to come. Dear God, do I pray. It doesn't, so my only recourse is to pull Romeo out of his reverie. Or drink. But I don't like doing that until my reverie kicks in. So I wave my hand in front his face.

"Yo, Rude! Over here! It's me, Reno! I'm over here! To the very far left of the knockers you're staring at!"

He snaps his head back to face me. I snigger. He frowns.

"What were you saying?"

"This place," I say, spreading my arms wide. "It's a shithole."

The voice that replies isn't Rude's. It's barely even human, sounds more like the noise a startled Cockatrice would make.


A very drunk, startled Cockatrice. The originator of the squawk plops himself down in the one remaining seat at our table. He doesn't spill his drink, in spite of the clunky inebriation of his movements. I've come across enough drinkers in my line of work to know that this is a good way of telling if someone's an experienced alcoholic. He is. I eye him up, a little prickle of wariness in my stomach. He stares back. Beside us, Rude downs his drink in one and stands up and my little trickle of wariness is lost in a flood of indignant fury that he's abandoning me. I turn to face him and can feel the malevolence radiating from behind those dopey sunglasses, this is disproportionate vengeance for my teasing. I watch the fucker saunter off towards the bar. I know he won't be back; he's staring at the barmaid chick tinkering with a dingy keyboard set up in the corner of the room, waiting for her to start playing.

Cock-voice next to me must've grown impatient with my total non-responsiveness to his earlier squawk because he makes the same noise again, right down to the decibel. I turn back to him and he's staring at me with a big drunken basset hound frown.

"Whass wrong with Seventhhhh Heaven?" He slurs, still frowning. He looks like he might cry. I don't try to qualm the annoyance bubbling up in me. Who the fuck does this guy think he is? Drilling a total stranger with questions?

"It's a shithole." I repeat, with emphasis on the 'shithole' part. I'm starting to feel a little euphoric tingle in shoulders. Nirvana isn't far away, and I thank the stars for that. Cock-voice's frown becomes even more cartoonish.

"Howzzit a shit 'ole?" He tries to sound angry. He succeeds in sounding slobbery. I shoot him a look of utter incredulity. Some questions are just downright stupid, even for drunks.

"It's literally made out of shit that no one else wanted!" I cry and flick my hand up for some emphasis, as if I'm saying the most obvious thing in the world, because quite frankly I am. His response makes my innards cringe so much I fear they'll fold in upon themselves.

"Even Heaven hasss iz rain clouds." He says, dead serious. I'm not far enough along in my pill-paved path to inner peace yet to cheerfully assent to such crappy drunken poignancy. So instead I take a good whiff of the air.

"Does Heaven smell as shitty as this too?"

He snorts, it turns into a laugh, which turns into a fit of inexplicable amusement. Nirvana won't help me here. Only the drunk understand the humour of the drunk. So I just sit and wait for him to get over my apparently fantastic joke. He continues to wheeze and chortle and recompose only to lose himself to the giggles once again. I take a sidelong glance at the bar, Rude's sitting there with another drink, watching the barmaid chick play a few keys and press some buttons on her dingy keyboard. At last Cock-voice sobers himself, at least in regards to his laughter.

"Achhh," Comes his throaty warble, "It smmmells of swea' – "

"And shit." I interrupt.

"And shit." He repeats with an enthusiastic nod. "And…and…what elsse?"

"Piss?" I offer, a lazy grin seeping onto my face as I say it. My whole body's tingling in fuzzy delight now and I feel any and all irritable sentiments towards Cock-voice fading away. He nods so vigorously at my suggestion that I swear his head's going to fly off and bounce off the walls.

"Piss!" He says. "Piss! It smellsss like piss."

"It does." I agree wholeheartedly. It really does smell like piss in here.

"But!" He roars, and his index finger points upwards so rigidly I wonder if he'll ever be able to bend it again. In fact, I'm tempted to bend it for him, as he's pointing it right at my face. But finger-breaking isn't good for my Tranquiliser mellow, even if they aren't my fingers. So instead I just tap my finger against it, for reasons I cannot fathom. Cock-voice passes no remarks on it, just continues on with what he's saying.

"A h-hic-happier place ya won't find than this." He taps his finger against the table in time with the last three words and nods as if he's just said something irrefutable. I'm too far down the road of supreme happiness to argue anymore, so I just giggle at the rhyme.

"You're a poet, slick." I say. His frown returns in all its hound-like glory.

"Hoosh Slick?" He asks. I shake my head and chuckle. The barmaid chick's keying a tune over in her corner, it sounds crisp in spite of the poor state of the keyboard.

"You sssso happy 'bout?" Cock-voice slurs, he sounds distraught. "All angry a shecon' ago." Then he leans across the table, tucking his head into his shoulders. He looks like he's about to ask me to murder someone.

"Ya any Loco Weed?"

I don't answer immediately, barmaid chick starts singing and I turn my head to look at her. There's a shy little smile on her face, but she carries herself well for all the attention she's getting. She's very pretty; I can see why Rude likes her. But it's her voice that gets me, and I know it's not just the Tranquiliser making me malleable this time. Her vocals are soft and melodic, but powerful and forceful enough that they command the attention of every person in the bar. Everyone is silent, even Cock-voice holds his tongue, though I can see he wants to pester me for an answer. I ignore him. There's something familiar about the song she sings, I know it, just don't know how I know it. And it agitates me. A lot. More than it reasonably should. The song's a downer, but there's something in it, in her voice that doesn't bum me out and ruin my vibe. It just gives me that irritable feeling of not being able to place what's wrong.

Into each life some rain must fall…

Cock-voice is getting tetchy next to me, fidgeting in his seat and drumming his fingers on the table. I reach into my pocket, pull out a satchel of Tranquiliser, what's left of it at least and flick them across the table to him, muttering to give them a half hour or so to kick in before I turn back to the singing beauty in the corner. I can't see her fingers on the keyboard, but her hands shift so delicately I know her touches to be feather light. Her head's inclined to the right just a little, her eyes closed and a hint of a smile, or maybe a frown on her lips as she sings. And the voice!

I know I've reached my sought Nirvana but holy shit that voice is heavenly. It's wistful and happy and sad all in one.

I glance over to the bar where Rude is sat, lips parted just a bit and gaze fixed on his goddess. He looks as dopey and love struck as ever but no laugh surges from my throat. Not even a tickle or an inkling of desire to tease him and I know for a fact that there's not enough Tranquiliser in the world to mellow me enough to stop that. It's something else entirely. And it's not just happening to me. Everyone in the bar has the same cut about them. They aren't just listening to her sing anymore. They're feeling every quiver of her voice and every click of shitty plastic keyboard key and every dull hum of artificial sound coming from its speakers that feels so real.

I don't like it anymore. It's not killing my buzz, but it's changing it and everyone else's.

Hot Pianist Barmaid keeps on singing, her notes growing longer and longer, from short little hums to long mourning wails and with each harmonious howl the sadness in her voice grows and I try to sink further into the drug's fuzzy embrace and bat away the music that's trying to mould my mellow into something else.

Burn, corpse, work, small, no, problem. Words that no one's speaking but I'm hearing. I'm too hazy to make sense of them, and there's more to worry about right now, like saving my mellow high.

…must fall, but too much has fallen in mine…

She finishes with a melancholy little flourish on her keyboard and the bar erupts into applause. I glance at Rude and he's clapping, slow and quiet, awestruck.

Fuck him, he's too far gone to drag with me.

Without a word to Cock-Voice I stand and slink away out the door of the bar. He slurs something after me but I don't pause at the porch to hear it. I march right across the street to a place I know can take me to Nirvana.

One without words and songs I don't know I know.

Author's Note: Written to "Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall" by Ella Fitzgerald and The Ink Spots

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