In the aftermath of Advent Children, Reno ponders life, the universe, and Rude
Okay, not so much an idea as a direct order. Once Stryfe finally put paid to Sephiroth (again) and Holy cured the geostigma, he decided we were all due for a little R&R before letting the world know that Rufus Shinra and the Turks have returned. Like anyone but crazy old people who don’t own TVs missed the stunt he'd pulled in Edge.
Thing is, we’ve been pretty well worn to a frazzle by the events of the last year. Even though the stigma’s gone now, Rufus still has a couple of minor health issues left over from the explosion of the Sister Ray. And Shiva knows Tseng and Lena deserve some time off after what they went through at the hands of Kadaj and his trigger-happy little brothers.
Rufus’s order is how Rude and I ended up here, in a nice little beachfront cottage in Costa del Sol. Shinra-owned of course (anyone who believes Rufus ended up penniless after Midgar was destroyed has obviously never heard of diversifying your portfolio).
I’ll admit it; I love Costa. I love the people, and the laid back attitude, and the belief that anything can be made better (or at least more tolerable) with booze. If we live long enough, Rude and I’ll probably end up retiring here.
When I told Rude that, he just snorted, but the truth is, our chances of actually living long enough to retire has gone up dramatically since METEOR happened. Anyone who thinks Rufus Shinra is still intent on taking over the world obviously wasn’t in downtown Edge when he decided to see if remnants could fly.
It still amuses me the way Stryfe reacted to his decision to send Tseng and Elena after Jenova’s head. Given that we’d been tracking the SHM since they first showed up and it was obvious what they were looking for, what were we supposed to do? Let them get to it first and resurrect Sephiroth before Spiky got his shit together long enough to notice what was going on? What happened to Tseng and Lena just made it that much more personal.
I guess we've got Valentine to thank for the fact that they managed to survive. At least that's what Stryfe says. Kind've weird, given that he threw in his lot with Cloud and company before, but maybe Veld was right after all. Once a Turk, always a Turk.
I’m writing this at a little patio table on the front porch of the beach house, working on my first Scotch of the day and watching Rude doing his exercises down on the beach. He’s not wearing anything but a pair of black sweatpants, and even though it’s still fairly early in the day, the sun’s already hot enough to fry eggs on the sidewalk. He’s nice and sweaty, and I’d be perfectly happy to just sit here all day and stare at him.
Drives me crazy that I can’t remember what he's doing is called, though. Something he learned from Tseng a couple of years ago. According to him, Wutai warriors have practiced the same exercises before going into battle for centuries.
The movements are deliberately slow and look almost choreographed. You’re supposed to meditate while you’re doing them (I’m not sure if Rude actually meditates or not). Tseng said the purpose was to find your inner calm, as it was believed you could fight more effectively if you were calm and centered.
What never ceases to amaze me (and turn me on) is how graceful a guy Rude’s size can be. Most big muscular guys tend to be kind’ve like Chocobos in a china shop. Rude told me once that’s because they’re not really comfortable in their bodies, and I’m inclined to agree. Even after all the years we’ve been partners (10+ and counting), he can still sneak up on me, and I’m a trained Turk.
The rest of the world doesn’t stand a chance.
So I sit and watch, the alcohol and sun pleasantly muddling my brain. He generally puts at least an hour into this stuff and he’s already been at it a good 45 minutes, so he should be done soon. After which he’ll towel off and come up from the beach, and tell me how it’s too damn early in the day to be drinking. Then he’ll go inside and make breakfast, after which we’ll have the whole day to do what we want. Which, at least at this point, consists of swimming, sleeping and having sex. Making up for lost time, he calls it. Conditions at Healin before Holy were so cramped you couldn’t turn around without bumping into yourself-if you actually wanted to have sex, you had to go somewhere else to do it. Which, what with Rufus suffering from the stigma, simply wasn’t an option (doubly so after we thought Tseng and Elena were dead).
“A little early in the day to be drinking, Red.”
See what I mean about him sneaking up on me? He’s wiped off most of the sweat, but his skin’s got this sheen to it that makes me wanna lick him cause he looks like he’d taste good.
I raise my glass in his direction.” Fuck you, Rude.”
“Maybe later.” He’s got his sunglasses back on now. “I’m gonna make some breakfast. You want anything?”
“Besides to ravish you within an inch of your life?”
He just smirks and goes inside, the screen door slamming behind him. I drain my glass and look out at the white sand beach and shimmering water. Then I sit down the glass, get up, and follow him inside. With a little luck, I’ll be able to distract him from making breakfast long enough to get in a quickie.
Yeah, I could definitely spend the rest of my life here and be happy. I’ve got Rude, a steady supply of good booze and good food, and absolutely nothing more pressing on my mind than trying to get a suntan without burning.
What more do you need out of life?