Someone has to keep in control when their world goes topsy-turvy and President Rufus Shinra is tripping over his own two feet like some slum's vagabond.
Rufus Shinra is unsure what time it is. Late afternoon? Early evening? He's used to Midgar standard time and cloudy, deceitful weather that casts a near constant shroud of dimness over the region. Here it is bright and sunny well into the later hours, but he doesn't see any of this. The cantina was low lit when he entered, lacking windows or even nearby doorways. Just fluorescent bulbs unchanging as hours passed until all he knows is that he is drunk and perhaps at one point thought something meaningful about the lack of natural lighting and the atmosphere that only fed one's need for continual drinking.
He doesn't know, but most likely Tseng does, sitting at his side in amicable silence. A glass of unnameable drink rests in outstretched hands, cooling and fresh and his shoulders are bereft of constancy -- coat neatly folded on a nearby barstool. He always manages to hold his liquor better than Rufus who grows less able to feign sobriety as shots pass into his bloodstream, rambling something sarcastic about conspiracy under his breath. Tonight is no different thus far; Rufus' voice generally so eloquent after years of etiquette training now trailing the hint of a slur as shot glasses clutter. Tseng nurses his own drink. Someone has to keep in control when their world goes topsy-turvy and /President /Rufus Shinra is tripping over his own two feet like some slum's vagabond.
But he clearly does not notice. And this is yet another reason why the Turk must stay in control, staring at the younger man and feeling the cool heavy steel of a handgun holstered to his side. Protocol may be slackened with his tie loose and coat amiss but it is not out the window, not even with Rufus drowning sorrows and stresses that he claims don't exist on this impromptu vacation. The glass bottle is sweating, a ring of water imprinting the bar and most likely rendering his commanding hands artificially clammy.
Downing a mouthful, he makes a face -- A half snarl of disgust whereby Tseng raises an eyebrow and his own glass, taking a more reserved sip. The slight nuances and flickers of emotion on Rufus' features are so much more pronounced when his eyes are a blue haze of intermittent drunken ponderings. He stares down at the empty shot in a baleful glare. "When in Costa..." His voice is as guarded as possible yet raw, the alcohol working its magic. Turn marble and alabaster into fleshed out humanity.
A pause. Tseng knows the rest, of course, and his voice is clear as he completes the gesture. "Do as the Costans." But there is more to it and he is altogether unsure if he is reading too much into this semi-toast. Do as the Costans. What is normal and expected. Perhaps that has always been the blond's life, or rather perhaps what it should have been. Do what is dutiful. What is best for the company and appearance. Even when his own personal agenda became clear to the Wutaian, as most things now often /were /concerning Rufus, it was almost as if he was both following and intentionally straying from the bread-crumb trail his father had set for him. Even with the man now dead there was still the public eye and years worth of habit.
Rufus always hated tequila.
They had visited the resort town years earlier when Rufus had come of legal drinking age. Back before he had become president and everything had come cascading down on them all. Shirt-sleeves rolled up and eyes hidden behind dark shades, they had ducked the curious onlookers' collective gaze, 'Is that the president's son?' and sat, perhaps in that very same spot. The very same drinks. Even then there existed a mutual camaraderie born of silence and buried under layers of formality and professional duty.
"I'm nothing... Just a backup until they all need me. Surely you of all people realize this, Tseng."
The Turk, master of stealth and a man who had seen much in his years was always somewhat thrown aback, startled whenever Rufus shattered silences. Particularly like this. The words seemingly came from nowhere and perhaps he hadn't even realized they had been spoken aloud, fallen heavily laden with the void of any emotion. Somehow over the course of that day his internal fortifications had turned to sheer batting, the taste of alcohol fresh upon his lips. Tseng took a deep breath, letting it hiss on exhale before speaking.
"I have little doubt of that among the executives. Are you of the same mentality, sir?"
Rufus gave him a look that could have been taken either way as he raised a hand and ordered another tequila, sniffing the shot before downing it. Tseng caught the tail end of a half crazed grin and was unsure if the blond had been following the pseudo-conversation.
A sigh. The shot glass thunking hollow on wood.
"When in Costa."
And for a millisecond it all made sense. For the first time there was clarity for the Turk. Rufus Shinra hated tequila and yet there in that cantina it was ordered. A prisoner to duty and expectations, something hammered in since childhood. At that moment, despite his vast riches and promise of empire he was locked up and tied to his father. the company. Only existing to further the cause and carry a torch of power and policy. The burden of a corporate heir.
Even now, years later he is glaring at that infernal drink behind a curtain of ashen blond hair reminiscent of days gone by. He looks so much younger for a second and Tseng wonders if he too is lost in that vague memory of past drunken quandaries. The feeling of being trapped by the demands of an all too hated ghost and self fulfilling prophecies shattered. Shattered because somewhere along the line Rufus has gained that which he always wanted. Not only the power and money, but freedom as well in a sense. Because despite the force of habit -- this bottle of nearly finished tequila and the neat stack of shot glasses, he has moved forward in other realms. Broken away and changed the administration. He will make up for the company's faults against nature and the world. Right the pathetic existence Gaia has been dropped into. Start his own legacy.
He stares at the bottle a moment longer, and Tseng can practically see the cogs working, greased with alcohol and determination as he orders a vodka tonic. Relishes the first sip of something fresh, worthwhile, and to his tastes. Rufus turns, a smirk spreading as his glass is raised in a toast that is not quite based in mockery, though his voice is sarcastic as ever.
"When in Costa."
Tseng lets out a low laugh. And perhaps few would understand the meaning behind the words, behind the actions, just as few understand the subtle changes in this new era Shinra has taken a dive into. More than dwindling funds and life without Mako powered reactors, there is something intangible as well. This is not his father's Shinra. They only /thought /he was a carefully crafted replica of the previous president. And over time the general consensus will change, of this he is certain.
And as he sips from his soon to be emptied glass, Tseng thinks of another phrase familiar to him from these parts.
"A veces... La manzana cae lejos del Ã¡rbol."*
*"Sometimes the apple falls far from the tree"