Categories > Games > Final Fantasy 7 > Rain


by KevehKins 0 reviews

"Rain is a hindrance. It gets in the way of your plans. It gets in the way of living. It's just plain miserable. We wouldn't all carry umbrellas otherwise." A series of events in the life of Ren...

Category: Final Fantasy 7 - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Angst,Drama,Humor - Characters: Reno,Rude,Tseng - Warnings: [?] - Published: 2014-12-16 - 3320 words

Disclaimer:All characters and settings in this story are based upon and are the property of Square Enix unless otherwise stated. No profit has been made from this piece of fiction.The purpose of taking Tranquiliser is threefold.

Wednesday morning, on the other hand, has but a single goal, a lone raison d'être, and that is to make those individuals unfortunate enough to be awake during it as miserable as possible. Or, at least, to make me as miserable as possible, I may be extrapolating a bit in regards to its effects on the rest of society.

I've always hated Wednesdays; they mark that period where the excitement of the new is gone. Then they rub salt in the wound by reminding you how far off your weekend is. Not that one really gets weekends off, in this line of work. But Wednesday's force people into immense productivity, just to stifle their own despair over how long they have left in the working week. You can't relax, so you might as well work your hardest and hope time flies by a little quicker for it. But it never does. And by the time you realise this it's too late for you, Wednesday has you in it's trickster grip and horror of horrors, you start actually wanting time to go by slower because you 'just need a little more time to finish this'.

I am no exception to the phenomenon. I hunch over the file on the desk in front of me, filling line after line with information so detailed it's tedious and bordering on inefficient. But detail is what this job calls for. I glance up at the clock hanging just above the walnut door to my boss's office.

"12:03" I mutter. It's officially not Wednesday morning anymore. The realisation brings me no joy, now it's just a shitty Wednesday afternoon and that means sitting at this desk for the next five hours, filling out more shitty reports and glancing up from time to time at the shitty clock to see how long I have left, and then panicking and wanting more shitty time to write more shitty reports the closer the time draws to the day's shitty conclusion.

I sigh, flop back in my chair and dip my hand into my pocket, running my index finger along the thin plastic edge of the satchel. A little surge of a desire to pop a few here and now jerks through my veins and into my heart. I stifle it with another sigh and gander down at the stack of cardboard file folders on the desk, all emblazoned with bright red Shinra logos that don't match the dull beige, puke-like brown colour of the rest of the folder. The colour spectrum of the world gets a little monotone on Wednesdays, like someone's put a filter over everything. I turn my head to look out at the scenery through the window. The sight doesn't change my opinion.

Midgar looks amazing at night, a veritable oasis of light and sound and hues of greens and blues and pinks and reds and every other colour imaginable. But during the day, well, it looks like someone took a crap made of cement and then moulded it into the shape of a city. Midgar lives at night, but during the day it's as lifeless as the barren crags and cliffs that surround it. Frankly, it looks like a manhole cover leading to the sewers full of the collective faeces of the rest of the planet. Which it is, in some ways, actually.

I pray for the day to fly by, so that I can fly myself to my Nirvana sooner, and take solace in the knowledge that things cannot possibly become any drabber.

"Reno! My office, with the Returners report, five minutes." Tseng says as he strides past my desk and disappears through the walnut door to his office.

Oh, look at that, the day just got drabber.

I finger the satchel again; some peace-eating is all the more tempting with the prospect of conversing with Tseng, or rather, at Tseng. The guy's a hard-ass, especially towards me. Ours is a relationship that was destined to fail from the day it began. I told him he had dirt on his forehead. Turns out it wasn't dirt and was actually some ceremonial religious dot thing. Needless to say that didn't ingratiate me with him. I didn't and still don't want to be ingratiated with him though. I glower at the walnut door before turning and fishing through the file folders for the Returners report.

Tseng irks me.

He's not really the boss, not yet anyway. But he is in charge of a few Turks and their activities. And that's what irks me about him. In the entire time I've known Tseng he's never once stepped out into the field, and as far as I can tell, never did so before I knew him. All I and anybody else know is that Tseng's been being groomed for the top dog position since day one. But what does a flunky with a desk know about the job? About what it's like out in the field?

I rise out of my chair, tucking the folder under my arm and stroll between the desks up to the door, rapping twice on the dark wood, and receive a muffled summon. I step inside the office and shut the door behind me with a soft click. The lighting's pretty dim in here; the blinds are pulled over the window behind the desk. It's dark, but not so black that sight is impaired. A row of filing cabinets stand against the wall on the right, and a lone spider plant sits atop one of them. All in all, the office is pretty sparse, a bit like its occupant.

"Take a seat." Tseng says, not looking away from the computer screen and tone monotonous.

I long ago accepted that Tseng's personality is that he has none. His decorating does nothing to change that opinion. There are creatures slowly bleeding to death that are more animated and vibrant than he is.

"Please put the report in my inbox." He drones, still not looking at me.

It really wouldn't surprise me to discover that Tseng had a desk when he was still in the womb. I step forward, dropping the report into the little basket on his desk and plop down in the faux-leather office chair in front of it. A pointed silence inflates its quiet self between us, punctured only by the continued clacking of keys under Tseng's diligent fingers. He shows no outward sign of stopping to address me anytime soon, so I slouch a little into the seat and set about inspecting the skin around my thumbnail. Said thumbnail, of course, is about as interesting as the plank sitting across from me, so I start drumming my fingers on the armrest instead.

Finally Tseng finishes typing whatever it is he's typing and turns to face me, clasping his hands together and resting them on the desk. He leans forward a bit, I maintain my slouch.

"Rude's returned from his mission." He says. His voice is level. I straighten myself in my seat and quirk an eyebrow. Rude's been gone for the better part of six months on some top secret mission. It's very shady stuff, probably something pretty nasty if he couldn't even tell me about it. Course Rude's still new at the Turk game, like me, (relatively speaking – it takes more than a few years to make a capable Turk…and a hell of a lot of paperwork) so he was paired up with one of the long timers.

"When did they get back?" I ask. "I haven't seen either of them."

Tseng just stares at me, expression totally blank. I stare right back at him, eyebrow still raised, wondering what the fuck I said to warrant gawking that's bordering on being sexual harassment at this point. Not that there's any evidence to suggest Tseng is in anyway sexual. Hell, there's probably a spare report writing pen where his dick should be.

"Rude returned." He repeats, with a pointed look. "Just Rude."

Maybe it's the monotonous way Tseng drops this bombshell, maybe I just want to save face in front of him, but the news stirs nothing in me. No heart skyrocketing to my mouth, no twisting, sickening knot in my gut, not even a tickle of irritation.

I've felt more upset by dropping food than this.

It's all the more surprising, then, that my voice is so damn hoarse when I speak.

"What happened?" I croak. I sound like my old man, without the excuse of decades of dust exposure. Still I feel nothing, contrary voice be-damned. Judging from the total non-expression upon Tseng's face, his heart isn't exactly pumping torrents of sorrow through his veins either. He takes a breath and does this little half-shrug with a shake of his head.

"We don't know yet. Rude was in no state to tell us."

"What do you mean?"

"He was…emotional. Kept demanding to go home, wouldn't hear of anything else, so we let him. We've been keeping an eye on him, to make sure he's safe but he's refusing to speak to most of us…"

I caught his drift as soon as he said the word 'most'. Rude's not speaking to the top brass, but he might speak to an equal, better yet an equal who's also a friend or a drinking buddy, at least. The order that's about to come fills me with the sort of dread you experience as a kid when you're told some relative you don't really like's coming over to visit, so you have to stay inside with them, on your best behaviour, and not do any of the fun things you wanted to do that day.

"We'd like you to go see him, after work."

If the day was drab before, it was dismal now and well on its way to being worse again.

I guide the little hatchback neatly into the slot between a pick-up and another, identical hatchback that reeked of company vehicle. Shinra launched a new car a few months back, which meant that certain departments received a fleet of them, including the Department of Administrative Research, or, us. Ostensibly as rewards for good service, but really as a form of advertising, because in the corporate world financial efficiency is king – get every last gil out of your workers, save every buck you can.

Of course in any other department the situation would be a win-win, free cars are free cars and the company wants them seen out and about, but discretion is paramount in our line of work and the sporty, sleek hatchback is anything but discreet. It's all curves and Xenon lights and flashy rims and tinted windows, it even has a tiny spoiler that curves upward from the roof, like a stylishly spiked fringe over the rear window, probably like the hairstyles of its target drivers.

I like the car, personally. In fact, I think it's the shit. Professionally though, for the sort of jobs Turks do, the car's just shit without the all important prefix of the 'the'. But what the company says goes.

I notice that I'd been fingering the satchel in my pocket for the last three minutes. There's another, stronger wave of temptation to pop a few now. I ignore it and pull my hand out of my pocket. I figure it'd be best to stay sober for this, I need to focus. So I peer out of the driver seat window at the apartment building across the street. Rude lives in a nice area, not high end, not low end, just a nice, run of the mill residential area. There's a supermarket on the corner of the street, far to the left of Rude's building. An assortment of buildings just like Rude's filled the space in between the shop and his place, but unlike Rude's apartment block, most of them are converted, filled with cafés, offices, coffee shops and just about any business that could reasonably operate within the confines of what used to be living space. In the corporate world, financial efficiency is king, and occupation is more efficient than construction.

I sigh that sort of "Well here we fucking go" type sigh before opening the door and hauling myself out of my inefficient yet efficient car. There's that heaviness in the air that often looms before a storm and a quick glance upwards confirms its coming. Midgar's sky is grey on the best of days, but the clouds are that little bit thicker and darker right now, weighted with water that would no doubt fall before the evening's end.

I turn my head so I'm looking at the other oxymoronic hatchback behind mine, the one that reeked of company car. I fix my gaze on the spot where the driver's head would be behind the tinted windshield and nod once before turning my head away and crossing the street. I scale the steps to the front door of Rude's building two at a time and there's a little prickle of self-consciousness at doing it, because I probably look like a puppy bounding up the stairs to retrieve some favourite chew toy, but fuck it, it's not my fault architects never account for longshanks like me. I fish in my pocket for the key Tseng gave me, (under rigid orders that it was to be returned, of course), pull it out and slot it into the keyhole. A twist and a distinct clunk and the door glides open on well maintained hinges.

I glance over my shoulder. The other hatchback's moving out from behind mine. I watch it roll down towards the supermarket at an even enough pace, not in a hurry but not taking its time, looking like any other driver heading home after a day's work. It rounds the corner out of sight and I nod again. The only thing less discreet than my inefficient yet efficient car is an identical one parked right next to it. I figure he was to move out to pastures new.

"Lucky bastard." I mutter before stepping over the threshold, swinging the door shut behind me.

The hallway's empty. There's a waist-high, ugly metal cupboard of some sort to my left, pressed up against the wall. It's where all the electricity meters are kept, I assume. Ugly metal cupboard is pulling two jobs though, meter and letter holder, judging by the hefty stack of mail sitting atop it. I take a quick peek, thumbing through the stack of paper. Most of it's junk mail, with a few crinkled but official looking envelopes at the bottom of the pile. One of them has Rude's apartment number on it, but not his name. Old bills for former residents I guess.

I gander around at the rest of the lobby, still clutching the envelope between the thumb and index finger of my right hand; it's the first time I've ever been in Rude's place. We see enough of each other at work, and pubs and clubs are the go to on the occasions when we feel like we haven't. The lobby matches the outside, matches the well maintained door, and matches the local shops and cafes. Not high end, not low end, just a nice, run of the mill, middle ground place. The stairs are covered with a plain navy blue carpet and framed by a sturdy looking wooden rail. There's no elevator, the place isn't big enough to warrant it I figure.

I glance back down at the envelope in my hand. My hand is shaking a little; from tiredness I tell myself as I drop the envelope and turn away from the ugly metal cupboard and stride towards the stairs. I start the ascension, one step at a time this time, though it would be more comfortable to take it two at a time. But one at a time requires more focus and precise movement and I'm staring down at my feet as I lift them and plant the ball of each foot on each step and just concentrating hard on performing the action and listening to the thump-thump-thump of each step, the only sound in the otherwise mute building.

I'm liking the sound, it's resounding and forceful and rhythmic, attention grabbing. I want to keep making it, truth be told, but I hit the third out of three floors and I run out of steps and now I've got nothing to hear but the pad of my footfalls on the carpet. Which is hardly a noise at all, certainly not loud enough to concentrate on.

There are two doors on the landing, one directly in front of me, and one to the left of that. Rude's is the one directly in front of me, a plain wooden door with a metal number seven adorning it at just above eye level.

I raise my hand to knock and all of a sudden I'm aware of just how much I'm trembling and somewhere in the back of my mind I register that my other hand has slipped back into my pocket to twiddle my little satchel of happiness.

"The fuck is up with you, Reno?" I mutter to myself, my voice as shaky as the rest of me. I stifle a laugh, because I know it'll be that nervous fucking laugh that I just can't abide in myself. I can't abide anxiety of any sort. Nothing good is gained from being anxious, you achieve nothing by worrying, only doing. And most of the time in my experience it's been unfounded anyway, and I'm a Turk.

I'm a Turk.

I'm a Turk.

I'm a fucking Turk. I can fucking handle this. It's just Rude, a little banged up, a little worse for wear, just in need of a good time to take his mind off whatever shit happened. A good time? I've fucking got that. Shooting the shit? Right up my alley. Killing some asshole would-be terrorist? A day's fucking work. Because I'm a fucking Turk and if I can do that then I sure as shit can handle this.

I bang on the door, my hand steadier now. I wait. No response.

"Rude! It's Reno, open up!" I call. Still nothing. I grimace and thump on the door again, harder this time, enough to make the hinges rattle.

"Rude! Just open the fuckin' door please!" I grumble. There's sounds of movement from beyond the door now, the noise of a body shifting, pushing itself upright and then the sound of footsteps on a wooden floor that grow louder before coming to a total stop. Then there's just the sound but not quite sound of another living being in proximity to you. And it stays that way for a moment or two and I almost feel like laughing. There's the clank of a key being turned, the squeak of the handle being pushed down and pulled and the door moves back to reveal John Rude, but not as I normally know him. And that makes my heart plummet. Rude's standing there, eyes bleary with tears, obviously fighting hard not to just collapse into a heap of grief right there on the landing.

And I can't fucking handle this. Not at all.

I swallow and speak in that shaky voice that I just cannot abide.

"I need to use your bathroom."

And with that I push past Rude and damn near sprint to the other side of his apartment.

Author's Note: Thanks to the folks over at TLS for helping me out with my carpeting problem. Don't hold back on the criticisms folks, especially of the constructive variety, t'is very much warranted and appreciated. All the best,
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