Cloud finds Reno in an alley, and suspicions rise and falter
It's Cloud/Reno. Don't bash. They're cute. And yes, I have played FFVII. I didn't just watch Advent Children and pretended that I knew what was going on.
When I first came across him in the alley, I knew it was my own accident. I didn't usually walk around the back streets, and I didn't know why I had started, but if I had thought about it days afterwards, I knew I wouldn't be able to call it a coincidence. I wouldn't be able to say I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I suppose none of this would've happened if I had stayed out of foreign territory.
I didn't know he smoked. He's the kind of guy you always figure /did/, but you never caught him in the act. Considering that, I was also surprised to catch him alone. That too was always something rare.
When he saw me, he smirked and pushed himself slowly off of the wall. My hand twitched instinctively towards my back, but he held up his hands, one of them holding the cigarette. The smoke trailed up into the darkness lazily, casting fleeting wisps of haze and pollution that dimmed the walls behind it.
"Hey, calm down. You going to kill me for smoking in an alley?" He scoffed. "I suppose that's a new law? Imposed by Tifa, yeah?" He slumped back against the wall, taking another drag and muttering through smoke, "Fucking uptight..."
I hated him. I wanted to yank that cigarette out of his mouth and shove it down his throat, burning holes in every part of his body I could reach. I couldn't understand. How he continually manages to stay alive is beyond all reason; the bliss I felt when I was so sure I had killed him, left him for dead to be found by his precious ShinRa partners, was temporary, and nothing compared to the frustration when I saw him again a few months later, smirking and tapping his shoulder with that stupid taser. Alive.
"I know what your orders are," I growled. I was ready. This time, there would be no interferences. No outside forces. No other distractions. If it was meant that this Turk would go down in the very slums in which he was raised, then I was perfectly fine with it. As long as I was the one to take him down.
He laughed lightly. "I'm off duty."
I paused. And waited. But he said nothing more. His head tilted back and he blew smoke up into the darkness, either content with ignoring my presence, or content with acknowledging it and doing nothing.
"So, that's it?"
The sound of glass shattering in the far-off distance broke the contrasting silence that lay between us, and I tilted my head a fraction of an inch towards the sound.
He chuckled. Someone screamed. I was torn.
"Sounds like you have someone to save," he said quietly. I had never heard him speak so softly. To be honest, I didn't think he was capable of doing it. I watched him under narrowed eyes, my distrust mounting every time he moved. He guestured towards the scream.
"Go. Practice your hero-complex."
I could've killed him. I should've killed him. But the time wasn't right. It wasn't what I had envisioned. I was distracted.
So I turned my back to him and walked away, step after step after step, wondering why I hadn't felt a painful electric shock pass through me yet.
I guess the time wasn't right for him either.
I barely noticed where my feet had taken me. I had an idea as to where I was heading, but I didn't let myself think too much of it; I knew that if I did, I would turn around and go back home. And in some way, I felt this was important. I think maybe I just really wanted to kill him.
"Boy, you just come looking for fights, don't you?"
He was alone again, another cigarette in his hand. He wasn't the kind of person to just let it sit there, dangling in his mouth. It was tacky. Unattrative. The smoke looked like an extension of his body, curling around the night and drifting into the clouds, the small, glowing red dot illuminating his fingers as they held the white stick carelessly.
I drew my eyes away from his fingers and cleared my mind.
"Is that an invitation?"
He shrugged. "Not really."
I hesitated. Would it be the same? Would I feel the same sense of accomplishment? Would killing him when he's unprepared and calm be the same as killing him during a battle, when I had the chance?
I withdrew my blade. "Oh well. Since you're such a highly-valued Turk, I don't think it'll make a different either way."
I lunged at him quickly, hoping to gain the element of surprise to my side. He turned towards me. Met my eyes. I forgot what I was doing. I knew I was running towards him, but as to what for, my mind was blank.
He caught my wrist, and I faltered completely. His utter lack of interest surprised me. Was this not Reno, the arrogant Turk that loved nothing more than booze and blood? What normally would've enraged me now filled me with blatant, stunned curiosity.
The hand clamped around my wrist pulled and I was jerked towards him. I could taste the smoke on his breath. I hated cigarettes.
What the hell was I doing?
Before I could pull back and attack, his mouth quietly formed words that whispered and trailed around in my head, just like the smoke that came from that same mouth.
"You know what I think? I think you saved the world a little too well, Cloud."
And this time, he turned his back to me and left, throwing his cigarette on the ground without looking back. I watched it change into various shades of red before finally snuffing itself out, and I almost imagined I could see the smoke in the clouds above me.
This time, I honestly had no reason. If I killed him, what would I tell Tifa? And I'd have ShinRa to answer to--or, whatever was left of them--and I'm not only be putting myself in danger, but Denzel, Marlene, and Tifa as well. Reno had made it clear long ago that he never minded deviating from orders. So if he didn't feel like eliminating me, then I was just fine with that.
But I still had no reason for coming back.
"Are you looking for something, or do you just love hanging around in the slums? I mean, sure, the view isn't all that great, but at least you have familiar company and--"
"Why haven't you killed me yet?"
Reno stared. "Okay, never mind. The company isn't all that great either."
"What will happen when Rufus finds out you haven't even been trying to follow orders?"
He gave a half-shrug and smiled around his cigarette. "That's the fun in it. Besides, Rufus' punishments are always so...appealing."
He laughed aloud at this, and I stared. Since when did the Turks stop calling Rufus ShinRa? Or was that a privilege only Reno had? I sighed.
"Listen, I don't like you hanging around down here. If people see you, it'll make them uneasy--"
I barely knew what I was saying. I feared a collapse in conversation.
Reno moved closer to me, his eyes alight with something I couldn't understand. An emotion I never portrayed.
"Oh? And what would you have me do, Cloud? Go back to Midgar? Sleep with the ghosts?" he asked, stepping closer. "Cower with the remnants of the dead?"
He smiled. I shivered.
"What if I told you that I had no where else to go?"
I searched his face. He wasn't trying very hard. "I'd call you a liar."
He took a drag from his cigarette, holding the smoke in his mouth and closing his eyes briefly, savoring it. Then he reached up, and I felt myself pull away. He held my jaw with one hand and I tensed, realizing that I had no weapon. I clenched my fist, preparing to strike back, when several things happened at once. His mouth opened mine. I could taste nothing but smoke and feel nothing but his lips. Then I pulled back. I gave him a horrified look. He smirked. I turned and left, my mind reeling and the sickly yellow lampposts reminding me of the taste of nicotine that still lingered in my mouth.
When I reached the end of the street, I looked back. I could see the end of his cigarette, casting a haunting light on his face. The tattoos on his eyes were vivid against the pale flesh of his cheekbones and the tips of his hair flashed brightly, mirroring the color of his cigarette.
I tried to convince myself it wasn't the most beautiful thing in this city. It wasn't.
"Hey, look what I caught slinking around."
He didn't even question my appearance this time, for which I was thankful. I'm not sure how I could've answered.
I looked at the struggling figure held in his grasp. It was a local--a druggie, but the looks of it--and his wide hungry eyes were filled with terror and panic. He was fighting against Reno as best as his body would let him, but the Turk held him back with ease, looking rather amused at the whole situation. The figure was mumbling constantly, tears beginning to leak from his red, puffy eyes.
I nodded at him. "He looks like he's trying to say something."
Reno looked down with mild interest. "So it does. Shall we let him?"
I shifted, uncomfortable. Reno didn't wait for an answer, and lowered his hand from the man's mouth, which immediately burst into speech.
"Wait, wait! Don't kill me! I have connections, man, connections! Ya, ya know? I can get ya anything' you want. C'mon Reno. R-Reno? Reno?!"
I glanced up, slightly disturbed at the man's helplessness. "You know him?"
Reno frowned. "Maybe. Hey, your name Marty?"
The man grinned insanely. "Yeah man, yeah! I knew you'd remember! What happened to you, man? You disappeared! We were pretty beat up about it, y'know?"
"Yeah, I bet," Reno said. I could tell, with trepidating interest, that he was losing amusement in the nostalgia. "Went to work for ShinRa, as it is."
Marty squirmed again. "Oh, that's great! Fucking hell, man, that's what I'm talkin' 'bout! Making something' of yourself and all--"
"See you in hell."
I shut my eyes just in time. Reno had equipped a silencer on it, but the splattering of brain matter against the far wall, only feet from me, was enough information for my sake. When I heard the body fall to the ground, I opened my eyes and looked up, carefully stepping out of the blood's path.
"Do you say that to everyone you murder?"
Reno pushed Marty's body up against the wall, as if moving trash cans out of his way. "Only the ones that I'll miss."
He ran a hand through his hair, sighed, and looked up at me, finally breaking into a grin. "So, what do I owe the pleasure?"
I faltered. "What...what brand of cigarettes do you use?"
Reno smirked that fucking trademark smirk and I felt something inside me jolt. He was close now than he ever had been.
"Doesn't Tifa ever wonder why you've missed the last five dinners?"
"I've never asked."
I wished he'd shut his mouth. I couldn't keep my concentration when it was open.
He scoffed. "And she hasn't either?"
His fingers curled around my waist. I breathed in fire.
"She knows better."
He chuckled softly, his breath warm on my neck.
"I didn't know you smoked."
I eyed him carefully. "I don't."
"They taste like you. I miss you."
His eyes burned, reflecting the sunrise--the sign that our time together was over. "You need to leave. I'll miss you too."
I had memorized his skin, his face, his entire structure. I knew I should've thought it through. I knew I should've have come back. I knew I had a reason for never trusting anyone.
His fingers trailed over my back, and I ran mine through his red hair, admiring the way it felt almost like liquid. He gave me a gentle squeeze, and I cocked my head against him.
"I'm sorry..." he whispered.
He paused for a full 20 seconds before answering. His voice was strange--hollow, broken. "For putting you through so much."
I figured he meant AVALANCE. "It's no big deal. It's behind me. I'm...I'm trying to let the past go."
He hadn't let me go yet. The long embrace was unusual from him, but I accepted it nonetheless, relishing in the feeling of a body against my own.
"It's all you have left."
I didn't know how to answer that. A small part of my mind tried to put my defences on alert, but I ignored them. I struggled to think of a reply.
I heard a small click, and my heart raced at the cold hard metal against my head. For the first time in my life, I was struck paralyzed, unable to move, react, or even fully comprehend anything. I could feel his breath against my cheek, and the fire burned.
"See you in hell."