Reno really likes things that go boom.
Notes: So, Reno is in the process of learning Wutai at this point. Being in the process, he doesn't understand everything. To show this, along with all the language switching, all dialogue in Wutai will be in italics. When Reno doesn't understand, since this is Reno-POV, the words he doesn't understand will be in unitalicized "Wutai". Ie: "/I xihuan to blow shit up/." So the italics, Reno understands, the non-italicized, he doesn't. Inversely? Jie is learning English. Sometimes he can't manage it. When he gives up and says something in Wutai it the middle of a sentence, it'll be italicized. If Reno knows the word, it'll be translated into English; if no, it'll be in Wutai. Also, since they're learning, their grammar isn't right. I assure you, it's intentional (except for where it's not)
With one exception, where I'm leaving something in Wutai that Reno understands in Wutai. Basically, the joke doesn't translate otherwise. All you need to remember is /ben/means "stupid." >XD
Also, Reno's name in the Chinese version of FF7 is "Lei Nuo," and Jie's mom, unable to really get a good grasp on his name due to extreme lack of English ability, calls him "Lei Nuo."
Di si hua - Hua pao
Chapter 4: Things That Go Boom
Winter, Reno found himself thinking not for the first time, really sucked.
It wasn't just that it was cold, though the cold really, really sucked pretty bad. It was that in winter, you always felt hungry. Or felt it more, at any rate. And it was always pointless to look around his place for food; if there was anything more than some moldy bread, a miracle of some sort happened--if his mom had money for food, she usually spent it getting high instead. Reno was used to no food and being hungry, as much as it sucked, but hated winter because in winter, it was worse, and it was also a hell of a lot harder to get food. Stores didn't have food outside, and it was a whole lot harder to steal food that was inside than it was food that was /outside/. And a lot easier to get /caught/. Winter, he had to work twice as hard to get less food, and that sucked. He glared at the empty cabinets, hating that he was gonna have to go out in the cold and try to find food, and the chances of actually getting something that would be more than a couple mouthfuls were pretty slim.
But there was, he thought, face brightening, another option. One way to get food in winter that worked was to have one person as a distraction while the other got the food--or whatever it is you wanted, like some mittens or a coat, or even shoes. Reno'd never asked Jie to help him get food, but he figured that since he and Jie stole pretty much everything /else/, he'd probably help out.
Or, if Reno was really/lucky, Jie's mom would just feed him. Unlike everyone else Reno knew, they /always had food. And lots of it. Reno had never seen food in someone's kitchen like he had in Jie's place--every cabinet was crammed full and the fridge was always full to bursting.
Reno had been in shock the first time he saw all the food in their kitchen. "Why y'all got so much food? Umm.../why too much...food/?" he said, switching to Wutai at Jie's blank look.
"'Too much'? We don't have too much! Wait, you mean why do we have so much/ food/?" Jie asked, frowning slightly.
"Yeah! That! Why do we--/no, duh, stupid/--y'all/ have so much food?/"
"/Mom works at a /fanguanr," Jie had said with a shrug. "/She always brings home /chisheng /stuff/."
Reno stared at him blankly. "Fanguanr?Chi...chisheng?"
"/Fanguanr is /uh...res...rest...people eat food place," Jie said, making a face.
"People eat food place? Wait...a 'restaurant'?"
Jie nodded. "/Yeah/!Restaurant. 'Chisheng' is people not ate all food."
Reno stared at him, making a face as he tried to work it out. "People not ate all food? HA! Food people didn't all eat!Leftovers!"
Suddenly, why there was food made sense, and why whenever Reno went over, Jie's mom always gave him food. It still shocked him, even after all these months, that she would just give him food, and some part of him was waiting for when his good luck would run out. He didn't push it too/bad--like, he wouldn't steal food from their kitchen as strong as the temptations was--but he /would try to milk it for all it was worth. It was hella easier, Reno thought, to just make really big eyes at the food before he left, 'cause it meant Jie's mom always got that AWWW look on her face and wrapped up baozi or something for him to take with him. AND if he gave her a big smile after she gave it to him, she would make the AWWW face again, call him cute and maybe pat his head and play with his hair, and sometimes give him MORE food, so it was a win-win all around, even though he DID have to put up with Jie making faces at him while his mom's back was turned. Reno usually horded some of the food in his room, but he never knew when his mom would find it and eat it herself. So far, she hadn't found his new hiding place, but he knew that wouldn't last long.
For now, though, he'd eaten through his stash yesterday, which was why he was hungry now; he'd had a few baozi which had stayed good a couple days because it was so cold in his room that they kept, but Mom hadn't been back in about three or four days, and he'd finally run out of the little food in the house and his stash.
Which meant time for another trip to Jie's, because if Jie's mom didn't feed him, maybe he could at least convince Jie to help him steal food from somewhere. Jie owed him, he figured; he'd been the"distraction" for Jie getting his new mittens.
Reno could smell Jie's place before he even got there."Oh, man/!" he moaned as his stomach went /nuts growling. It smelled like Jie's mom had gone nuts cooking, and it would just be cruel if she didn't give him something. By the time he actually got to their front door, the "I'm hungry, feed me!" face he had been practicing on the way over had changed from an act to completely genuine. He banged on the door and there was a long pause before the door finally opened and Jie's mom, looking thoroughly frazzled, opened it.
Reno got as far as opening his mouth before she grabbed him by the arm and pulled him in, chiding him to hurry it up.
"Whuh?" he managed as she all but dragged him back into kitchen. He glanced around bewilderedly. He hadn't been over in a couple days, but in the interim, it looked like the place had been scrubbed clean from top to bottom, and there were fancy paper decorations put up with things in Wutai written on them.
"/Wash your hands and pack things like Jie!"/ she snapped, blowing hair out of her face. "And hurry! Hurry!"
She whirled on her heel and went back to stuffing things into /baozi/.
"/Just do it,"/Jie said. "/Ma's crazy now,/" Jie said, shooting a quick glance at his mother.
"Uh...OK," Reno said, wide-eyed. There was food all over the place, and he was /really, really hungry/, but he had the feeling if he tried to eat anything Jie's mom would smack him with the big wooden spoon that was next to her. He washed his hands really fast and went back over to Jie, and started wrapping things up like Jie was.
"What's all this?" he finally asked.
"Uh...Nong li /New year /food. New Year."
Reno blinked. "New Year?! But it's February!"
"/In Wutai, it's the new year,/" Jie said, switching back to Wutai. "And the restaurant Ma works at is making food for some big party. It's above Plate!"
Reno stopped suddenly. "Oh, wow! You goin'?"
Jie grinned. "Yeah! Ma said I could go look at stuff while she was working."
"Lucky!" Reno said, suddenly almost eaten with jealousy. He'd never been above the Plate before. His mom had said he wasn't allowed to go there by himself, and she'd never taken him.
"/Finish working!"/ Jie's mom snapped, and they both jerked with surprise and went back to work. And Reno's stomach started growling again, but Reno was too scared of Jie's mom in scary-mode to risk asking her for something.
About twenty or thirty minutes later, everything seemed like it was ready to go. Jie's mom frazzledly pushed her hair out of her face and stared at them. "/Both of you need to xizao!/Aa, first eat, then /xizao!" she snapped, and hurriedly cleared a space at the table and put together two plates for them. "/Bian /I'm /xizao/, /bian/you /eat!" she snapped, and hurried off.
Jie and Reno just blinked, and finally Reno looked at Jie and said, "/Your mom's crazy/."
Still, Reno was not going to turn down food, not after he'd worked so hard and was so hungry. He had no idea what "xizao" meant, but it'd probably become clear sooner rather than later, and meanwhile the food was here and in front of him just begging to be eaten--he had his priorities.
He'd only barely finished when Jie's mom rushed out, hair still wet and a towel wrapped around her, dripping wet. "You two! Go!The water is ready! Go xizao!" she snapped, and suddenly, it made sense.
"What?!" Reno yelped. "Take a bath in winter when it's cold?! No way!" She had to be crazy. Had to be.
While Jie's mom still didn't understand English very well yet, she /did/, Reno discovered once again, understand /lip/, and Reno found himself smacked soundly upside the head and shoved after Jie, ordered once again to take a bath, and ominous words that they had better be completely clean in fifteen minutes following after them.
"Jie, your mom's nuts," Reno said as they headed to the bathroom.
"...Yeah," Jie said, nervously looking over his shoulder as they walked to make sure she wasn't listening.
"/And wash your hair!/" they heard Jie's mom yell down the hall after they went into the bathroom. The unsaid threat of "or I thump both your heads" was clear to both of them, so they just grabbed some towels and stripped quickly and got into the tub.
"/Jie, your mom is really// crazy,/" Reno said, and started washing quickly, still doubting highly the sanity of being wet in winter.
Jie nodded. "And we need hurry."
They scrubbed clean quickly, helping each other rinse out their hair and checking for dirt anywhere that Jie's mom might find and yell at them for before rinsing off, getting out, and drying off.
They came out of the bathroom and Jie's mom yelled at them from behind her bedroom door to go in Jie's room and put on the clothes on the bed.
"/How your mom do that/?"
"Mom has ear /xiang/bat ear," Jie whispered nervously, looking like she was afraid she'd hear him.
"Jie Guang, give Lei Nuo your old red one! He's smaller so it should be OK. You wear the new red one!" Jie's mother yelled. She yelled something else that was too muffled for Reno to understand at all, but Jie nodded by reflex and yelled back that he would. Then they went in Jie's room and Reno suddenly understood.
"What the...?" he started, staring at the sets of clothes on Jie's bed.
Jie stared, too, then his face broke into a huge grin."I think you come with us!"
"I can come with you? Above the Plate? YES!" Reno yelled, cheering. The two of them grinned and started jumping up and down, babbling excitedly.
"/ARE YOU DRESSED/?!" Jie's mom yelled, and they stopped jumping and got dressed as fast as they could, with similar "Oh, shit!" expressions on their faces.
They came out a few minutes later, Reno fussing with the unfamiliar clothes and tugging antsily at the high collar. He had just decided he didn't like these clothes at all when Jie's mom came out of her room and his jaw fell open. Jie's mom looked like atotally different woman, tall and confident-looking, hair swept up perfectly in some elaborate style and make-up applied deftly, dressed in a fancy traditional Wutai red dress. Reno found himself just staring at Jie's mom, and happily so, she was so pretty.
"Oh, man, when I grow up, I'm totally hooking up with your mom!" Reno said.
"Hunh?" Jie said. "I don't understand what you said."
"...Uh, nothing," Reno said, waving his hand, still staring at Jie's mom.
She noticed them then and smiled, and Reno was convinced she was the prettiest woman ever/. "You two are so cute! Jie, so handsome! Such a handsome little man! And aiya, Lei Nuo! You're so cute, so white xiang/]hua/! You're so /piaoliang/! ...Well, almost. Jie, get me a /fa shuazi/!" she ended, raising an eyebrow.
Well, he figured out one word. "Xiang" seemed to mean "like," and all in all, this was sounding like Jie's mom was saying he was pretty like a girl or something. And while normally, Reno would get spitting mad at this, it was hard to get mad at someone so /pretty/, like Jie's mom was, especially with her smiling at him like that. All he could do was smile back at her stupidly.
...Well, smile stupidly until Jie showed up with ahairbrush, and then Jie's mom wasn't quite as pretty. Well, OK, she was, but his head was hurting a lot more. Jie had been laughing really hard at him trying to squirm away and failing miserably because Jie's mom had a grip and it really, really, really hurt when she was going at his hair so fast, then it was Reno's turn to laugh when she turned the evil brush on /Jie/.
"/Get everything and let's go!"/ Jie's mom yelled. Reno and Jie looked at each other, then went to the kitchen table and picked up everything. They were about to head out the door when Jie's mom stopped short. "[/Aiya! Lei Nuo, I didn't ask your family!Maybe you can't go! I was too busy and you two are always together! What was Ithinking? You were here and...aiya!"
Reno felt his heart sinking. "/It's ok! Promise! I go, it's OK. OK!"/
"No, no, You better ask your mother! Lei Nuo, da/telephone your mother! /Ruguoshe says OK, you can come."
Reno swallowed thickly and picked up the phone, figuring "da" must be"call." He dialed the number, and got what he expected.
"This number is no longer in service. Please--"
"Yeah, mom, it's me! Yeah. I'm at Jie's place."
"Uh-hunh. Yeah. I did. Uh-hunh. OK, Mom? Yeah, hey, Mom? Listen!"
"--check the number and--"
"Yeah, Jie and his mom, they're going above the Plate for a Wutai New Year thing and said I can go, so can I go? Please? Can I go? Pleeeeease?"
"This number is no longer in service. Please hang up, check the number, and try a--"
"Pleeeeeeeeeease?YES! THANK YOU! Bye, Mom!"
"BEEP BEEP BEEP"
He hung up the phone quickly and grinned. "/Mom says OK!"/
"Whew!OK, boys, let's go!" Jie's mom said and smiled.
As soon as they got to where the party was, following Jie's mom into the back, both kids laden down with boxes and bags, Reno and Jie found themselves mobbed.
"Lei Nuo, Jie Guang, put those over--"Jie's mom began, when:
"AAAAAA, they're so cute/!/"
And then it was pretty much over for work being accomplished in the kitchen for about ten minutes. Everything ground to a halt, and Reno and Jie found themselves surrounded by about fifteen Wutai women of all different ages, squealing at them in all different dialects of Wutai.
"Ningyou mitai kawaii!"
"Keoi dei /han ho oi/!"
And since they were both still laden down with bags and boxes, they had no way of defending themselves against all the hands coming out to touch them, patting their hair and cheeks.
Jie looked ready to start spitting fire any second, which thoroughly baffled Reno. As far as Reno was concerned, this was the /greatest thing ever/. He grinned up at the women, and they started squealing even more about how /piaoliang/--whatever the hell that was; had to be good, he figured--he was.
"We gotta put these down!" Jie finally said in irritation. And almost immediately, the boxes and bags were whisked away, but without Jie or Reno moving, so they were still surrounded by woman all trying to touch them.
"He looks so much like Xiao Zhen!" one woman cooing over Jie said while stroking his hair, and Jie flushed red.
"Well, she is my mom!" he snapped, batting ineffectually at hands.
Reno, meanwhile, was being bombarded for entirely different reasons.
"Maji de jige na no?!" one woman asked, and Reno blinked at her in utter confusion.
"Is this really tiansheng de red /head/ fa?" another said, stroking his raggedly cut hair.
"Yeah, it is!" Reno said, figuring out mostly what they wanted to know, and also figuring that had to be the stupidest question /ever/, what, he was nine, no way could he dye his hair yet.
Then the question didn't seem so stupid, when all of the squealed and started playing with his hair more with their soft hands and all of them trying to hug him, and man, he liked that lots/, and anything that got him /that reaction was a good thing.
And now it was time to milk it.
"So...'my hair's red' is 'hong tou fa' right?" he said, trying to put it all together. "'Tiansheng de hong tou fa'/, that's right/, yeah?"
He remembered Jie's mom thinking him trying to speak Wutai had been the cutest thing ever when he started, and it was nice to see yeah, Wutai women still thought it was cute and reacted with that "AWWW SO CUTE!" face that usually got him food from Jie's mom but was now totally getting him petted and hugged, and yeah, boobs felt really nice and he could get used to this.
"Ma, make them let me go!"Jie yelped, and Reno decided "nuts" must run in the Qian family.
Luckily, the women thought that was cute.
"/How much /ya sui qian /did you get/?" one woman asked Jie, stroking his head like one would a pet.
Jie pouted a little. "It's just me and my mom, so Ionly got ya sui qian /from her/. /And only twenty gil./"
Reno blinked. "/What's /'ya...yasu...ya sui qian'?" he asked in Wutai.
"New year money!" Jie said, grinning.
Reno blinked. "New year money? What's that?"
Now Jie stared at him. "You don't get new year money?!" he said, looking shocked, his mouth hanging open.
Reno shook his head. /"No, don't get. You're lucky/," he said, completely jealous.
"/Aww, you don't have any new year money/?" one of the women said. She looked ready to say something else, when someone hissed, "The boss is coming!" Suddenly and distressingly, the women freaked and scattered.
"Thank Odin," Jie muttered under his breath, looking slightly frazzled. He tried to smooth down his hair, looking irritated.
"Freak," Reno muttered.
"Yeah, well, you're...you're motorcycle!"
"...Bwuh ha?" Reno said, giving Jie a "your momma dropped you on the head when you were a baby" look.
Jie looked smug."What does motorcycle say?"
"Uh,'vroom'?" Reno said, still looking at Jie like he was nuts.
"No. It says '/ben ben ben ben ben/'," Jie said, and stuck out his tongue. Reno blinked, then burst out laughing.
"Motorcycles say /ben ben ben ben ben/!HAHAHAHA!" he said, getting the joke. "Good o--!"
"...Who are these children and why are they here?" a voice boomed. Reno and Jie turned to see some old fart glaring at them.
Before either of them could say anything, Jie's mom rushed up, and started bowing apologetically. "I'm sorry. This is my son Jie Guang and his friend Lei Nuo. They helped me bring things. They won't get in the way," she said, sounding nervous and talking faster, and Reno didn't understand any more. The older guy looked down at the two of them, and Reno decided he really didn't like him.
"They had better not. But you know..." he began, looking thoughtful, a weird little smile on his face. "Well, too bad the little yang guizi/ doesn't speak Wutai/."
Reno's eyes narrowed./"I do so!"/he said, not all that sure what "yang guizi" was but not liking the way the guy was looking at him when he said it.
The weird little smile got bigger, and he turned to Jie's mom. He started talking really fast, alittle too fast for Reno to catch all of it, but he understood enough--he understood the "get them out or make them work" bit, and something about him being cute, which put Reno on instant edge./ /He didn't know what all it was exactly that the guy wanted them to do, but when an old fart was saying you were cute and wanted you to do something or get out, well, that never boded well, and every instinct was telling him to cut and run now. The only thing keeping him from kicking the old fart in the balls and taking off was that Jie's mom's hand had dropped on his and Jie's shoulder, and damn if Reno could figure out how someone with such thin arms could have such a /really strong grip/.
Plus, he didn't think Jie's mom would sell him out. After all, Reno's own mom was a junkie and would do pretty much anything for cash, and she'd still kicked out the guy who offered her money for Reno once.
And she'd lifted his wallet as she did so, which Reno still thought was the coolest thing /ever/.
Jie's mom was still doing that bowing thing, and next thing Reno knew, her deathgrip had gone from his shoulder to his head/and she was pushing him down in a bow, hissing /"Thank him!" at the two of them under her breath in that "Do as I say NOW" voice.
"Thank you!" both Jie and Reno piped in with, and kept bowed until Jie's mom let up on their heads.
Once the old fart was gone, she turned on them. "/You two! Don't act up or/...!" she said, not even bothering to finish the threat or needing to. /"Do exactly as I say!/"
They nodded, and soon found themselves standing at the entrance to the hall at the doorway, saying the same canned "/Happy New Year!"/ and something Reno didn