"But he didn't seem ill..." (Tseng/Rufus; Pre-AC - When the news broke.)
He spoke of death as a bureaucrat; voice meandering on fatalities and statistics. The impending epidemic soon to come. Damage control. Oh, and by the way, I happen to be dying. I happen to be next.
Just another point on the agenda. A bulleted afterthought.
But it was not Tseng's place to comment. Stand straight at attention. Assess the situation as if assessing the safety of a room. Protocol. Rationalize. Rationalize. Keep still and figure your next course of action. A timeline. Visualize symptoms too new to be seen in medical texts of markings that would soon be marring pale skin. Spreading like rot on a corpse.
But he didn't seem ill.
He never seemed ill.
Not even hours after the news struck the Turk silent. Tense. Unmoving. The truth of the president's mortality brushed aside momentarily by touch and taste and the glint of a determined glare that was distinctly Rufus Shinra. As if proving to Tseng that he still drew breath. That he was still alive. As if proving to himself that he was still alive... and there was time enough.
And he didn't taste like death.
And he didn't taste like dying.
And maybe that was enough.