Much love to my Beta. Thanks a bunch darlin`!
I was in a terrible slump when I wrote this so... Enjoy~!
Anxiety II - Enough
Never before in his life did he ever think he would be thinking, This is the day I've been waiting for. This was the day that he had spent the past year and a half preparing himself for; why he had spent eight years in college before that, learning and studying so that he would be ready for a case like this. Like hers. No, he hadn't gone to school for this particular reason, but since this is what it led to, well, he was glad he was ready. This wasn't going to be anything easy, nor did he expect this to be. Hell, this might be the hardest thing I do in my life.
The man sighed, walking into a building that was nearly identical to the many others around it. They were all built into a mountain, lush trees and shrubs surrounding the buildings, as well as several waterfalls. He walked up to the counter, a red-headed clerk looking down at some papers she was filling out, before finally turning her attention to him.
"Can I help you?"
"Yes. My name is Cloud Strife, and I'm here for my patient." He handed her his driver's license along with some other papers, and she sifted through them to verify what he said.
"I have to make copies of these Doctor, to put into the files. If you will just wait a few minutes please..." He nodded, and she left toward the back of the office.
Leaning against the counter, he looked around the establishment. He noticed from the white tables and chairs that this was the visiting area; a hallway ran through it, leading out of both ends of the room. This was the main building where most of the doctor's offices were. The various other structures that made up Healin Lodge were the patient's rooms, and a few other doctors and nurses scattered here and there.
The woman returned, giving him back his documents, and he put them back into his messenger bag. "She is with a visitor now, but her room is in the building up the stairs on the west end, if you would like to meet her there. She will be escorted back there a few minutes after her visit is over."
Cloud nodded, flashing a smile to the woman, who blushed and returned to the files she was attending. He pushed off of the counter, pausing for a moment as he saw a small woman entering the building from the south end. He nodded to her in acknowledgement, letting her pass by him and to the counter as he made his way to his destination. He heard her talking with the clerk, asking to check out, before she signed her name and left.
As he left the building and made his ascent toward his patient's room, he listened to the soothing waterfalls. Wasn't this a nice place to be? Well... when you consider what your condition is, and the reason why you're here, maybe not. But even then, Cloud thought, if he had some mental illness, he would want to spend his days in a nice, quiet, peaceful place such as Healin. He also knew that the quality of care and service here to these patients was beyond exceptional. This facility was focused more toward those with very severe cases, but not particularly violent ones. Except for one.
Once in the building, he asked another receptionist for the room number of this woman he was so anxious to meet. She told him told follow her. It was a nice building, but there weren't too many rooms here, and they were further spread apart. I haven't heard of her being a major problem while here. She just had that one incident. Why are they putting her in these rooms? Then, of course, he had to think of the reason why she was here. What she'd done to get there, and then it made more sense to him. Have to make sure she's not a danger to anyone else... or herself.
Cloud was allowed into her room by the receptionist who held what he assumed to be an extra set of keys among many. He waited patiently for her to find the right one, although that wasn't hard because he saw that they were numbered. Once inside, he thanked her, before heading into the room. She left the door open behind him.
At first, he just stood in the doorway, looking around. It was a standard room, it seemed to him. No windows, except for the small square one on the door. There was a desk, one chair with it, and a single white bed. What stuck out to him the most were, of course, the stacks of books upon the desk in front of him. There were about three stacks of various heights. One seemed to lean over slightly, but he didn't try to fix it; maybe that was how she liked it, and it would bother her if she found it out of place.
Walking over to the desk, Cloud observed the books by looking down their spines. He didn't want to pick any up, for fear of putting them back down in the wrong way. I don't want to make her any more paranoid than she already is. The things she was interested in astounded him, but he had always heard of her to be intelligent. Just... troubled. From what, who knows? Who knows but her, that is.
There were a large assortment of novels, research books, biographies and... psychology books. His eyes softened at the sight. She was trying to better understand... herself. If not even she knows herself, how are the rest of us supposed to?
His thoughts were interrupted by screams. He turned around, hearing and seeing guards running through the hall past the room. He left quickly, letting the woman lock the door hastily behind him, and he ran out of the building and down the stairs to the main one to see what all of the fuss was about.
There was a man standing right in front of a window near the southern entrance. An unconscious guard was on the floor near his feet, his holster empty. Cloud sighed. How in the world did he do that? The man was holding the guard's gun, pointing it toward the crowd, barking orders for people to back away from him.
"Sir, please. We can and will help you, if you just let us."
"No! I gave you all a chance to help me! I was here for a year and a half, and got discharged four months ago with a pat on the back and a prescription. You all told me that everything was going to be alright! That was a lie!"
"Tell us: what did we do wrong? What happened?"
The doctors were trying to diffuse the situation, while others were trying to escort patients away. They didn't need mass hysteria, not now. This was enough to set any one of them off, and that would only lead to a chain reaction. That would lead to people getting hurt... or killed.
Cloud watched the scene play out, standing near the back of the crowd of doctors and guards, ill-informed and ill-equipped to do much about what was happening in front of him. He didn't know anything about this patient, and therefore couldn't do much to help him. He felt terrible for not being able to do anything, but he also didn't want to feel like he was "butting in" to something that had nothing to do with him. Even in this type of situation where I don't know anything.
This man was becoming more desperate by the second. By now, most of the patients had been escorted away, back to their cells, except for the few who resided in this building; they were taken to the next building, then outside. He was shouting things at the doctors and nurses, demanding answers that it seemed to Cloud they couldn't give. He watched the gun the most, its jerky movements and swerving alarming him more than anything else. Soon enough, the man pointed the gun in the air, pulling the trigger. There was a hole in the ceiling above him.
A guard entered then, from the door nearest to the crazed man, his own gun drawn. The one of the floor was waking, and he began to inch farther away from the one who'd assaulted him. Other guards were beginning to surround the man, but not getting too close. The doctors urged them to stay their distance; they didn't want to set him off. Everyone could see that he was unstable. Cloud's colleagues wanted to help the gunman the best they could without things getting too out of hand.
A patient came in after the guard did, from the same entrance. Cloud only glanced in her direction at first, before turning his full attention to her form. She ran a nervous hand through her hair, almost seeming lost, unsure of what she should do. He heard a doctor near him ask a guard to get to her before the gunman did; their proximity was rather short. She winced, raising a hand to her head, and Cloud tilted his slightly to one side, observing her. This isn't the time to be doing that... But, he couldn't help it.
It was... her. His new patient. The one he'd been studying and preparing for.
The one he figured was going to be his hardest case yet. She reminds me so much of –
The intruder pointed his gun at her, and she blinked, before fully realizing what exactly was going on. Her eyes widened in surprise, but Cloud didn't sense too much fear from her. Like she... knew he wasn't going to do it. I don't know. This guy's case is really bad.
"They didn't escort you out like the others?"
Cloud's gaze shifted between her and the man. He's more aware than I thought. I figured all of his attention would be on the doctors... and guards. Not the patients, because... they're irrelevant to his situation. He sighed. Shit.
Her brow furrowed. "What? I... I just walked in." Her eyes shifted to the gun, before focusing on the man in front of her again. She was rigid, Cloud saw, unwilling to make any sudden movements that might piss him off. And end her life.
The crazed man turned back to the crowd. "So, are you all helping her, or just leading her on with lies like you did me?"
"Mr Rocham, please! We did everything we could do for you. Just tell us what happened that has made you think this is okay. We will help, just let us."
Mr Rocham laughed at that, waving the gun toward the doctors, before again pointing it at the woman while he was glancing between her and the guards. "Right. Right! I let you all tell me a lot of bullshit so I could get back to my wife, my kids. You wanna know what happened?" The woman moved slightly to her left, trying to get closer to the crowd, but he turned to her fully. "Don't you go anywhere!"
"I don't want anything to do with this, okay? Just... just let me go." She winced again from what Cloud thought to be the pain in her head. "No!" She suddenly shouted. "No, shut up!"
"Don't you tell me to shut up! Just who the hell do you think you are?"
"I wasn't talking to..." She stopped short, a heavy breath escaping past her lips. She bit her lip, then asked, "You said you... had kids?"
"Yeah, so?" Cloud studied the man more, watching the way his eyes darted this way and that, focusing on something for no more than a few seconds, before finding something else to look at. It was like he couldn't make eye contact with anyone, especially her. His eyes were wide, bloodshot, like he hadn't been getting any sleep at all. "What's it to you?"
"I have kids too. Don't you want to get better... for them? Let...," she held a half-balled fist up to her forehead again, closing her eyes, "let the doctors help you. They can."
He laughed again. "Really? And just how much have they helped you out! How many times have you relapsed, not been able to control yourself, felt helpless and confused, like the world just didn't give a shit about you? Huh? How many times have you let your family down? How many times have you heard the words 'I hate you Daddy! You're sick! You can't live with us!'? Tell me that!"
He backed up with every word, edging closer and closer to the window. The woman he was shouting at watched him, her eyes widening with every question he asked. Cloud took a step forward, still emerged in the crowd of doctors, the guards forming a line in front of them. One had separated from the group, getting closer to his patient, but she was no longer paying attention to them.
"I have heard things like that before. I know... I understand what you're dealing with. I'm here for a reason too, just like you were before. Please. Your kids wouldn't want their daddy to do this. They love you, they just... don't understand what's happening." She looked down at the floor when she said that, Cloud realizing that she was speaking more for herself than for the gunman. But he seemed to understand what she was saying. She looked back up at him again. "Listen to me. You don't want to do this. You don't. You don't want your kids to hear this about you, for their mother to say that... that you didn't care about them, that you were selfish. You don't want that. No one does."
He shook his head, lowering the gun slightly, his eyes on the ground. "It's too late for that. It's too late for me, for them to see anything else other than this man. They listen to everything she says... It doesn't matter anymore."
Mr Rocham turned to the window, shooting it out. There were shrieks from the sudden noise, and he stepped right to the edge of the window. Cloud's patient stepped toward him, but a guard grabbed her by the wrist to keep her away. She kept watching, even though she was being told to look away. The other guards tried to rush to the man before he did what he really came here to do, but it was too late. Her eyes widened, and her body stilled as the man raised the gun and pulled the trigger on himself. Then he disappeared beyond the windowpane.
Cloud couldn't move either – no one could for a few moments – shocked by what had just happened. He shook out of it, people now dispersing and trying to figure out different things to do about what had just happened. He pushed through to try and get to her, but a doctor and a guard were already taking her somewhere else. She was in shock; that much he could tell. She began looking around the room then, and finally, her eyes settled on him. She stared at him for a moment, but her gaze was blank.
This is... far from how I planned to start. He asked a passing doctor for something to do, and the man shook his head.
"The police will be here soon. There's... nothing we can do for him now."
Cloud sighed, beginning to wonder if enough had been done for the man.
"Never give up on the patient."
That night, Dr Strife was feeling more than out of place, and had a much more eventful day than he was ready for. He couldn't fall asleep for anything in the world, instead laying on the sofa that was meant for the patients. He had been put into an empty office for the night, seeing as they hadn't arranged anything for him; he wasn't expected to stay. He knew Healin was a nice facility, one of the best, but he didn't want to be put here. And he didn't think having his patient around all of these people was really helping her. Or maybe it isn't the people. Maybe it's the doctors. He wasn't sure. The reports on her were so... conflicting and held little information that he would just have to experience her for himself.
His patient... Tifa Lockhart. She was one-of-a-kind, that he was sure of. Why did she try to handle that situation today? Why wouldn't she? She had been backed into a corner, and she couldn't get away. But she didn't have to keep talking to him like she did. Maybe... maybe she felt obligated to help. Because she does understand. From what Cloud knew about her, she had been taken away from the people she loved as well – her best friend, and two orphans. Those were her children. The reason she was committed had something to do with them. Or everything. He shifted, turning over onto his back. It didn't help that there was little he knew about Tifa when compared to the mountains he knew about the other people he's helped treat, or studied. No one, in fact, really knew anything about Tifa. She isn't on the map until she's nineteen, but with that incident, it was clear that she'd had issues before. The problem was, no one knew what they were. Maybe except for that best friend. But he couldn't go talk to her. She wouldn't tell him anything. Cloud could bet that there were a lot of doctors that Tifa's dealt with, that have tried to pry out of her friend what she knew. None of them got anything.
He heard footsteps outside of the door. Cloud glanced at the space between the floor and the door, seeing shadows there, before it opened.
"Dr Strife! Ms Lockhart is... hysterical. She's screaming about how... they were right, and how she couldn't help him."
"Have you sedated her yet?"
The nurse nodded. "We've sent two men to do that now."
"Good. Bring her here after. I need to check her out immediately."
"Yes sir." She closed the door, and he was left alone again. Moonlight filtered through the window, shining down near the sofa. He paced, waiting for her to arrive, thinking of how he was going to start this off. Not with the wrong questions or looks, or else she wouldn't speak to him at all. Grabbing his bag, he rummaged through it until he found his favorite thinking aid: a baseball. Tossing it between his hands, he kept walking around the room. Luckily there wasn't any need for him to get dressed, seeing as he still had on the shirt and pants from today. I was planning on showering in the morning. Guess I should have reconsidered that.
The door opened again, this time with a man's back emerging through it. A gurney came next, his unconscious patient resting there, the other end being held by another man.
"On the sofa. Thank you."
The men nodded, carefully picking Tifa up and placing her where he was laying moments before. Cloud watched her, not paying attention to them anymore, and he heard the click of the door closing seconds after they put her down. A hand lay across her stomach, her face turned away from him. She was mumbling, but it was incoherent.
Yes. Far from how I planned on starting.
Much love also goes out to:
Iris Irene ; vLuna ; iNuocMam.
Thanks for reviewing!