Reno/Cloud (or it could be a Cloud/Reno) Reno's lover dies and he is thrown into the deepest depths of despair. Warnings: extreme angst, character death (not Reno), sad Reno (yes, that is a war...
He walked away from the crash scene alone. Here was that one person who was so important to him... dead. Not by his hand, or anyone's hand for that matter, but by the horrendously unfair forces of nature. He felt like throwing up. Like ripping something apart with his bare hands. Like crawling into a hole 5,000 feet beneath the surface of the torturous world, where everything, every sense, would be consumed by silence and dark and desolation, where he could shrivel into nothing and cease to exist. He was lost in despair so deep it was impossible to uphold the carefully blank mask his employer asked of him. A man working to clean up the mess, remove the tangle of motorcycle metal and bloodied flesh from the roadside stopped him. Not looking at the man, he waited. "Hey, did you know this guy?"
"Oh, man. I'm so sorry." The man paused and analyzed him. "Are you gonna be alright?"
He told the lie to strangers... and they believed it.
Rude stood to the side and slightly behind him, a towering mountain of muscle. He was strong and he knew his strength. He knew when something was too much and he could let go. Rude was stable. He envied that stability, yet he was comforted by it. Rude was waiting for the explanation as to why he always went straight to the liquor cabinet when he came home to drink himself dumb, then crawl to the nearest chair or couch or, if he were lucky enough to be near it, the bed when he was five seconds from passing out. Rude waited patiently, silently, as he had for the past week. Today, as Rude watched him from behind his trademark mirrored sunglasses, he muttered "I'm fine", just loud enough for Rude to hear him. Rude nodded and kept on watching.
He told the lie to friends... and they believed it... maybe.
He clutched his legs to his chest even tighter, afraid of letting go, of losing again. The water rushing over him was scalding hot and mingled with the liquid his traitorous eyes were releasing. The stinging pain matched the pain in his head, his heart; everything hurt. He tried to distract himself from the inner turmoil and pain by torturing his body, the scars on his arms and legs and the blistering burns on his back testimony of that. His violently red hair had become dull and tangled due to how restlessly he slept, and because his employer had stopped calling on him for missions, he had no reasons to work the tangles out. He didn't answer the phone; he didn't leave the house. Rude still checked on him whenever he could, but he simply drew further into himself. The name of his deceased lover flitted across his mind. Cloud... A new wave of sorrow, pitiful in its intensity, flooded his soul and seeped from the corners of his eyes, quickly becoming lost in the steaming water surrounding him. He heard Rude enter the apartment and readied himself for Rude's overwhelming presence. 'I'm fine,' he told himself. He could hear Rude calling his name from the hallway just outside the bathroom door. "Reno!"
He told the lie to himself... and sometimes... just sometimes... he could believe it.