Beyond Seven

By: General Quistis (generalquistis@yahoo.com) and Xu (zhakeena@yahoo.com)

Disclaimer: Oh, ya know… it goes a little somethin' like this… we don't own anything but the story plot and our sanities… duh… whatever… -_-

Authors' Notes: This is part of our plan to sow the seeds of the Rufus/Tifa shipping um… whatever! So there!

PROLOGUE

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            The six year-old heir of the ShinRa Inc. could clearly sense the air of death lurking around the hospital grounds as he sat alone in the waiting area near the Emergency Room. He wanted to cry; but his heartless father was seated beside him, eyeing him threateningly. "What are you thinking, son? You want to cry? Go ahead and you'll get whippings later on." The President threatened.

The little boy bit his lower lip and looked down uneasily, trying to concentrate on anger rather than sadness.

The little boy clenched his fists, hoping that his father would get away from him for a moment. "I can't take this anymore… my head is aching… I have to cry…" he thought silently as he examined the bloodstains on his blue polo, white blazer and white pants. To his relief, a medical representative from the door of the emergency room called his father over.

The little boy refused to look up the moment his father stood up and patted his head. "Stay here, Rufus." He muttered before he went off to the medical representative and entered the Emergency Room.

Rufus blinked once, remembering the way his father had commanded him to stay where he is at that moment. "How come he sounded like I was a dog or something else?" he thought miserably as tears fell from his eyes. He felt little teardrops fall on his little hands and he cursed himself for crying. "Stop crying, Rufus. If daddy sees you, he's going to do something really bad to you… like keep you away from mommy…" he thought as he wiped his tears away with a shaky hand. He sniffed and looked to his right, and saw 5 nurses and 3 medical representatives rushing to the E.R. with a man on a stretcher. Rufus saw that the man was wailing and that his knee was dislocated.

Following those people with the injured man was a little girl about Rufus's age with long dark hair and maroon eyes. Before the little girl could enter the E.R., the nurse held her back. "Oh, no, missy. You'll have to wait here." The nurse carried her up and placed her beside Rufus.

"Is my papa going to be okay?" the little girl asked with a worried look in her eyes.

"Yes, that's why he's here." The nurse replied with a kind smile.

The little girl smiled back at the nurse and nodded her head happily.

Rufus looked up at the nurse. "Wh…what about my mommy… is she going to be okay?" he asked.

The nurse turned to the little boy seated beside the little girl and she examined the blonde hair and the blue eyes. "Oh, so you're with President ShinRa?" she asked.

"Y…yes… how's my mommy?" Rufus asked, trying his best to keep his patience.

The nurse was silent for a while but she still tried to keep a straight face as she studied the bloody child. She looked around for any sign of anyone listening, but there was none except for the little girl whom she thought was too young to have too much attention span. The nurse knelt down before Rufus and took his hand. "Tell me, what exactly happened to your mom? We need to know because… because she is going to be in danger if we don't." she said.

Rufus frowned, remembering the incident that happened in the ShinRa Mansion earlier that evening. They were celebrating Rufus's sixth birthday and his mother had just given him a lovely present: a little panther-like animal whom Rufus had named Dark Nation.

Rufus was all smiles then, hugging Dark Nation, then Mrs. ShinRa. "Thanks a lot, Mommy. I love ya!" he said.

His mother hugged him back. "I know, Rufus…" His father had an annoyed look on his face.

"If you're done, I'm going now." President ShinRa stated flatly, looking at his wife.

The First Lady turned to her husband. "Aren't you going to stay here a little longer just for our Rufus? It's his birthday and you've never been able to attend any party I had prepared for him, not even his first birthday." She said with a pleading look.

The President frowned angrily. "I don't care about birthdays. He's alive, he's well, he's my son and he's your son! And most importantly, HE IS MY HEIR. Now leave me alone because I have to get to an important meeting!" he snapped before he headed for the door.

"What important meeting? You're going to meet your mistresses again, aren't you?" she said with a trembling voice as she flipped a lock of her blonde hair away from her face.

Rufus knew that another argument was coming. He knew all along that his father had mistresses and that he had brothers and sisters outside of the home, and it sickened him. "Hmf… daddy, don't you love mommy?" he asked aloud.

The President and the First Lady stopped bickering as they turned to their only son. "You heard your son, answer his question." She sneered.

"Aha, and now you're telling me to blah blah blah" blah blah blah.

Rufus clenched his fists as he set Dark Nation to the ground. The little animal rushed behind the curtain as his master froze in his tracks, watching in horror as the President began to beat up the First Lady.

"Don't!" Rufus screamed as he ran to his parents, trying to pull his father away from his mother. "Stay out of this, Rufus! Go to your room!" the President shouted angrily.

"NO! Let go of mommy!" he screamed.

The President got fed up with his son's behavior so he pushed him away and the little boy hit the wall behind them.

"Rufus!" the First Lady said before rushing to her son.

Rufus was already crying while his mother tried her best to comfort him, trying to mind off the pain she was feeling.

"How dare you! You are just my son! I could just get rid of you anytime I want to! Besides, I have other heirs to choose from, you know?" he said.

"I hate you! You are sick! When I grow up, I am going to make sure that I don't do what you have done! You think that I don't know anything about you? Well I do! I know that you're seeing other women besides mommy! Let me guess, you just married mommy because she's rich and her money will add up to yours, right? And the other reason is me! I am your heir!" Rufus yelled angrily.

The First Lady noticed the dangerous glint in her husband's eyes. Her embrace tightened on her son. "Shh… enough, Rufus… stop it." She whispered, feeling more afraid for her son's life than hers.

"Oh, is that the way you think of me, huh? Well then, don't you know that I try to control the world with money?" the President stated as he pulled out his gun. "And do you also know that I can do it with or without an heir?" he demanded with a maniacal smile.

The First Lady's eyes widened in surprise. "Oh no, you wouldn't…" she whispered.

Rufus felt like shrinking back in fear in his mother's embrace, but his eyes still showed his determination and anger.

"Hah! Feeling brave I see! Let's just see what happens if I…" stating these, the President loaded the gun.

"D-DON'T YOU DARE!!!!" the First Lady screamed.

The President smirked evilly. Rufus hugged his mother tightly. "Oh, yes, I do dare!!!" The President said with a sneer before he pulled the trigger. The bullet was really meant for Rufus, but…

***

Rufus looked up at the nurse's eyes. He had this stern facial expression on his face as he recalled his father's words to him before they called up the servants for an ambulance, "Don't you say anything stupid to anybody, you hear…unless you want to be next…"

Rufus shook his head. "Mommy fell down the stairs." He lied.

The nurse knew that the little boy was lying but she didn't say anything more. "Alright," she replied with a gentle smile. She stood up and patted his head gently. "We'll do everything we can, Rufus." She said before she headed for the E.R. again.

The little girl looked at Rufus and examined the look of guilt in his blue eyes. She felt pity for him when she saw tears forming in his eyes, waiting to fall. She smiled gently as she took his bloody hand. "Aw, what's the matter?" she asked with a sweet tone.

Rufus pulled his hand away from her. "Argh! Let go of me! Who are you?" he demanded angrily.

She frowned and slapped his face. "You're mean! I was just trying to help because you looked so sad and… and.. and…" she couldn't go on. She cried.

Rufus sniffed, feeling so ashamed of himself. "O…okay! Enough already! I'm sorry… geez, girls are such crybabies and… and.. and…" he stopped as tears fell from his eyes. He quickly wiped them away with his hands, also wiping blood on them, but he stopped when the little girl handed him a pink floral hanky with the initials T.L. embroidered on the side. "Crying will make you feel better, you know?" she asked with a sweet smile. Rufus was surprised that she had stopped crying already.

Rufus did not touch the hanky so the little girl made a kind effort of wiping his tears and blood away for him. "There, all better?" she asked with a smile.

He looked away. "Daddy shot my mommy," he admitted miserably.

The little girl was surprised. "You mean he took a picture of her? What's so horrible about that?" she asked.

Rufus wanted to laugh but he didn't. "No, he didn't… he… oh never mind… I'm sure you wouldn't understand because," he turned to her and examined her clothing and the way she looked. "You're from the lower class." He said, crinkling his nose.

The little girl looked at him annoyingly. "NO! I am SO the smartest in my class, you know!!!" This made Rufus slap his forehead.

"Aw, for pete's sake…" he muttered. "I mean, you're not as rich as I am! And not as smart, I can tell!!!"

"Oh, pooh-pooh! I'm only in kindergarten!" she snapped.

Rufus scratched his head. He never went to school; he had private tutors.

Then, the doctor came out of the E.R. with a smile on his face. "Miss Lockheart," he said.

The little girl looked up at the doctor. "Hello, Mister Doctor Sir! Is my papa okay now?" she asked.

"Oh, yes, Miss Lockheart. C'mon, he wants to see you," the doctor said as he took the little girl's hand to help her stand up.

Before the little girl could move away, she dropped her hanky onto Rufus's lap on purpose. She winked at him. "Everything will be alright," she said before she and the doctor entered the E.R.

Rufus was in awe as he looked at the hanky. "It's pink…" he thought as he examined it.

He was interrupted when the door of the E.R. opened once again. Rufus's eyes grew wide upon seeing his father with a cross look. Rufus immediately hid the hanky inside his pocket and pretended that he was not doing anything.

The President approached his son and dragged him up. "Let's go home," he muttered with a stern tone.

"Where's mommy?" Rufus asked.

"She's asleep." The President replied.

"Can I see her?" Rufus asked.

"No. You cannot see her and you never will." He replied roughly.

Rufus stopped in his tracks, surprising his father. He looked up at him with angry eyes. "…. She's dead, isn't she?…" he asked.

The President gritted his teeth, patience thinning by the second, but didn't reply. "C'mon, we have to go now…"

Still, Rufus didn't move. "Tell the truth, dad! She's dead, isn't she?!?! You killed her, right?!?!?!?" he demanded, making other people stare at them.

"Shut up, you spoiled brat!!! Let's just go, all right?!"

"NOT until you tell me!!!" Rufus screamed.

The President grunted. He knelt beside Rufus, then suddenly grabbed his shoulders and shook them violently. "You're friggin' mother's dead, all right?! THAT'S JUST IT! She died! Nothing you, or me, or those idiots can do about it! She died, Christ took her, God took her, for all I know, Satan took her, SHE DIED!!!" he roared, and then stood back up. "Now, c'mon!" he walked out, after shooting dangerous glares at the other patients and doctors watching them.

At their limousine, the President made a few phone calls using his PHS while Rufus stared at the window, watching the sceneries pass by. He then caught a glimpse at the little girl who talked to him in the waiting area, with her father limping beside her. He felt jealous of her simple but happy life. He pulled her hanky out of his pocket, but put it back, before anybody else could see it. 

"… I hate my life…" he sniffled, making his father look at him. He looked back, but this time, there was coldness in his eyes.