Blurring the Lines
Author's Note: None of these characters belong to me. They belong to Squaresoft. The following story however is mine and I plan on taking all of the credit for it. It is a crossover. It will all make sense when you read it. It might be a little confusing at first. I hope you enjoy it.
Chapter 1: Where Am I?
She pulled her soiled and dirty coat collar up over her ears, and pressed on through the harsh snowfall that tore around her. It was too much to bear, the cold that had slowly begun to sink into her every fiber, and she stared out from above her scarf into the blinding white that engulfed her completely. She took another faltering step, and then fell down into the ocean of snow at her feet. It bit at her skin and stung like hell. She lay there, paralyzed by the cold, and stared up at the sky.
"Is this it?" she asked herself. The words croaked up from her dry and sore filled throat. It was then that she saw light. A second of hope flitted through her heart and she forced herself to rise.
Is it the way home?
But, the hope was quickly dashed as soon as she realized the light belonged to a single solitary lantern. The figure that held it was approaching her slowly and she dropped to her knees.
Do I live? Or should I just lie down here and die? I want to go home.
"Hey, are you alright?" she heard him ask.
Answer him dammit! Live!
"H..help." The sound she made was barely audible.
The figure ran forward. He had heard her after all. She smiled weakly and then passed out.
She opened her wine colored eyes to a small log cabin and a roaring fire. There was no one in the room and she found the absence of life frightening. She sat up slowly and ran her fingers over the blanket that lay across her body. It had been weeks since she had slept in a bed.
A black lab slept peacefully by the fireplace. It was undisturbed by her presence. She called to it softly, but it didn't come. She rubbed her arms nervously and looked around.
Man, am I hungry.
Slipping out of bed she tiptoed to a nearby door and opened it slightly. The sound of thunderous laughter filled her ears and she peered down the deserted hallway. The coast was clear and she exited the room quietly.
Soft amber light was flooding up the stairs from the room below. The jovial sounds belonged to those who were below drinking, sitting and various tables and at a long wooden bar. The light came from a massive fireplace, ornamented in taxidermy. Some creatures that hung there she recognized and some she didn't. She leaned over the railing and watched the men engage in various drunken acts. She laughed as one man went to sit down but missed the chair completely. It reminded her of the bar back home. The fact that she was the only woman there didn't scare her at all. If any of them were smart, they'd leave her alone.
She decided to go down and find her rescuer. He had to be there, or at least someone who knew where he was would be. The second she hit the bottom step the room grew silent. Every man stared in drunken awe as she cautiously entered the room.
"Could one of you tell me who owns this place?" she asked. She brushed a loose strand of dark brown hair behind her ear. "Anyone?"
"Why of course, sweetheart," a rather largely built man closest to her answered. "I own this bar." He stood up when he said this.
There was a great amount of snickering from his drinking buddies. He smiled smartly and waltzed over to her. Placing a large hand on her shoulder, he looked her over. She could smell the alcohol oozing out of his pores.
"And if you'll just come on upstairs with me, I'll give ya a tour of the building."
Completely disgusted she removed his hand.
"I think you've had one to many."
"Aw, come on sweet cheeks, It'll be fun," he moved in to touch her again.
This time, however, she caught his wrist and twisted it.
"No, means no buddy!" She said, twisting his arm and forcing him to the ground. She then kneed him in the gut and stepped over his ego-bruised body.
"Who owns this building?" She demanded. She watched as all of the men in the bar backed up their chairs slightly. The man behind the bar started laughing and she shot him a glare.
"I own it," he told her and he leaned on the counter. "Can I get you anything?"
She walked over to the bar and sat down on one of the stools.
"Were you the one that found me?" she asked.
"Yeah," he answered her as he mixed a drink, "I was out looking for that stupid mongrel you probably saw upstairs. Didn't know I'd find myself a snow angel."
"Please don't start with me," she warned him. "And, why the hell did you let that guy drool all over me?"
The man held up his hands in defense. "I knew you'd take care of it."
She glared at him more intensely. "How did you know that?"
"Lady, you looked like you were going to die when I found you. Then all of a sudden you come walking in like you were never anywhere near death's door."
She looked out the window and became silent. The bar had already begun to come back to life. The pervert's friends were helping him up off the floor and poking fun at the whole ordeal. She returned her gaze to the man behind the bar as he set before her a plate of food and a mug of beer. He was young; she guessed in his late twenties and had dull grey eyes. She stared at the food like it was a dream, but didn't touch it.
"It's on me. Don't worry about it," he laughed.
She then quickly began to shove the contents down her throat as fast as she could.
"I could tell you were down on your luck by the appearance of your jacket," the man continued. She didn't stop inhaling to comment on his remark.
"The name is Mark," he told her.
She paused to down half of her mug, wiped her lips, and then said, "Tifa."
Mark nodded. "An unusual name. Where are you from?"
She didn't know how to answer his question. She wasn't from anywhere near here.
"Here and there," was her answer.
Mark picked up in her tone that he was to drop the subject. A loud groan was heard from the crowd behind her, and she turned to see the men getting up reluctantly to leave. An old woman was shooing them toward the door.
"Go on! Get outta here. I've got to sleep too you know!" She continued to herd the sad bunch toward the door.
"That's May," Mark told Tifa. "She is the real owner of the tavern. But, she can't take care of it alone."
"Seems to be doing alright," Tifa commented.
"Shoo!" May continued saying things like, "Hey Harvey, make sure Bill there doesn't fall asleep in the gutters and freeze to death!" and "Go on! Get! Have some respect for an old woman!"
Tifa smiled and turned back to Mark.
"Could you humor me for a second?" she asked.
He shrugged and put away a glass, "Shoot."
"What year is it?" she asked.
The man turned to her and raised a brow.
"Just humor me!" Tifa demanded.
"The year 2420 a.c."
She furrowed her brow.
It's not even the same calendar. What in the world does a.c. stand for?
"What is the name of this town?"
There was no Korin in my world.
Her fears were confirmed and she stared past Mark in a self-created trance.
"Hey, Mark! Who's your friend," May bellowed as she hobbled over to the bar.
"Tifa. She is a traveler...I think..." He stared at her as she stared blankly at the wall. He waved a hand in front of her face and she blinked rapidly and rubbed her eyes.
"Sorry," she blushed, "I should go."
"Not out in that," May told her. "Spend the night. Heard you beat up Russ. Want a job?" The old woman beamed.
Tifa thought it over. "Can I get food and a place to stay?"
"If you work for it," May told her. "I'm turning in. Lock up, Mark."
"Will do, May," he assured her. He then turned his attention to Tifa. "So, you want the job?"
"What is the job exactly?" Tifa asked.
"Bartending, of course. And I will have to ask you to occasionally do some crowd control."
Tifa smiled weakly and downed the rest of her drink, "Sure. Why not?"
Tifa lay in bed, staring at the ceiling. She couldn't sleep. She was lonely. She was scared. She was confused.
I was with him. He was the last thing I can remember. We were all happy, and starting our new lives. Heroes. We saved the world. No, she did. But we all played a role. Cloud, Barret, Red XIII , Yuffie, Vincent, Cait Sith, Cid. What happened?! One minute I'm standing with them all in celebration. Then I'm here. Alone. Where am I? Why am I here? How long has it been? A couple of weeks? A month? Every town I stop in, it is the same thing. They look at me like I'm crazy. They don't know about meteor, they don't know about Kalm, Midgar, or any of the cities. This isn't my world. Why am I here? Am I dreaming. Just sleep, maybe you'll wake up.