Step 14: Regret
Step 14: Regret
It's a new day and though I was informed I could take the day off if I was feeling indisposed, by that I'm sure Tseng meant to say mentally unstable, even if he's far too polite to word it so directly, I decided that I will report to work after all.
I am greeted by Rude when I enter the Turks' office, who instead of saying hello, simply nods quietly and hands me a box. The box contains my new Turk uniform; that was fast. I thank Rude and give a polite greeting to the other Turks, who answer with a variety of replies ranging from "good morning" to "yo", then excuse myself to go try on my new uniform.
Fortunately, the suit fits perfectly and I find it surprisingly easy to move around in it. I still feel a bit odd without the weight of my armor, but it's alright, I can get used to this. I am no longer a soldier who stands firm and breaks down walls, I'm a Turk who moves fast and jumps over walls. It's like going from samurai to ninja in a way, though I'm not sure the comparison fully fits, given Shinra's history with Wutai, which reminds me of my days as a Soldier and... I'm not going down this path of thoughts again.
I focus on the present, Tseng is explaining something about community service and I am assigned to help Reno. At first I am in disbelief, though I do no protest, as I believe it's not my place, I thought Tseng had more sense than that. Then I realize the arrangement is inevitable. Reno got the easiest job with the least media coverage because he's such a clumsy troublemaker and I was given the same assignment because I'm... well... not fully myself sometimes. It can't be helped; I'm stuck going with Reno to paint a building at Kalm.
While I'm contemplating my terrible fate, though I still dare not complain, I finally realize Elena had been talking to me, I had been too focused on imagining the bad day that awaits me to notice before. I'm not sure what she was saying, but I nod and she smiles, directing me towards a chair where I sit, wondering what in the world did I agree to do.
My worries ease when I realize that I didn't agree to anything too terrible. Elena simply wanted to brush my hair, which I suppose I could endure, though I do not particularly enjoy it. She ties it into a high pony tail and smiles proudly. "Your hair is so pretty, now it won't get in the way when you're painting."
I mutter a "thanks," and leave it at that.
xoxox xox xoxox
The sun is shining in the town of Kalm, my work has barely started and I'm already having trouble putting up with it, not because of the work itself but because of my assigned teammate. I wonder if Tseng was secretly trying to test my patience, I also wonder why Rufus allows me to continue being with the Turks, why Tseng agrees to it and why Reno can't be less sloppy. He talked non-stop on the way here by helicopter, then continued talking when we unloaded the equipment and started painting, he is still talking now.
No one in Kalm recognizes me as anything more than a Turk, at least that's one less problem to worry about, but Reno is problem enough. We're painting his building, of a purpose unknown to me, red, a very bright and irritating red which matches his hair as well as the drops of paint that are all over my new suit and my previously clean face and hair, thanks to Reno's sloppy painting next to me. "Why don't you paint the wall on the other side?"
"Cause then you'll have no one to talk to on this side," Reno acts as if he firmly believes his presence is a good thing, yet he is far from pleasant. He's a nuisance that I wish the ground would swallow up, though I'm sure Aeris will kick him right out of the life stream pretty soon.
I take a deep breath and count to ten, then take off my jacket and roll up my sleeves as I would have done from the start if I knew Reno was this clumsy with paint.
"Good idea," Reno decides to copy me, though I'm sure his jacket already needs a miracle to be saved with the amount of red paint stuck to it.
Then I notice something when he rolls up his sleeves, there's a bandage on his forearm and a flashback invades my mind. x x x "Seph, calm down! You don't have to throw such a tantrum!" Reno interferes. I grip his forearm, as if to lift him and throw him, but then I stop when someone else arrives in the hall where we stand. x x x Rufus arrived just on time, I would have thrown Reno and hurt him if Rufus hasn't calmed me down, but it seems I already hurt him. My grip must have been stronger than I realized, did I fracture his bone? "I'm sorry..."
"What for?" I feel cruel now for criticizing Reno. It's true that he is an annoyance, but he's very forgiving.
"For that," I point at the bandages.
"Oh this, you don't have to apologize, it's not your fault," though Reno assures me that I am not to blame, the possibility of his injury having taken place at a different time, in an event that does not involve me, is something I am not considering.
It has to be my fault, because it seems that every catastrophe in the world is my fault. Though I have come to dread Reno's frustrating presence, I should be thankful that he's not running away from me after what I've done and I should do something to properly apologize. I came back to the world to repay my debt, to make up for what I've done, to clean my name, to find redemption, yet so far I've only caused trouble for the Turks and Shinra. It's time for me to earn my second chance.
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Final Fantasy VII. This is another chapter directly inspired by the Shinra blogs where I play Reno. Special thanks to Cherri, who plays Sephiroth.