Categories > Games > Final Fantasy 7 > This Shame All Mine

O Presumptuous Me and Ye

by KevehKins 0 reviews

Failed electrocutions, witticisms, personal revelations and realisations. A man can learn a lot about himself conducting an interrogation. Warnings: Swearing and mild violence. Arguably cracky.

Category: Final Fantasy 7 - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Humor - Characters: Reno,Rude - Warnings: [!] - Published: 2015-11-25 - 2737 words - Complete

He stuffed his hands into the pockets of his suit pants and sat himself atop the bonnet of his car, a discreet little hatchback. He surveyed the landscape ahead of him, though in all truth there was little to see. Miles and miles of hardened, yellowing dirt and lifeless crags were all that lay between Midgar and Kalm.

"One more day and it's gonna look worse than this…" He murmured to himself with a heavy sigh. A dull thud behind him signalled the arrival of his former captive. He craned his neck to look over his shoulder and around the roof of the car, watching the grey haired man emerge through the heavy steel gate, stooped to one side as he fished in his pocket for some object. His hair sat perfect atop his head, no outward markings of injury adorned his body, save for the red tinge of the skin by his eye, where nightstick met skull. He sat himself next to the Turk, as casually as though he were sitting on a park bench after a stroll. Reno watched him pull a packet of cigarettes and a lighter from his pocket, extract a single white stick from the box, place it in his mouth and place the packet back, shifting his weight from side to side as he squeezed the box into the tightened confines of his pocket. The Turk raised a hand in questioning gesture, but the man ignored him, busying himself with pulling a lighter from that same pocket and holding it just below the tip of his cigarette. Reno frowned, hand still extended.


Knotch paused, thumb hovering just above the button to ignite the lighter, the other hand shielding the cigarette from a non-existent wind, figure hunched to add more unnecessary protection to his little nicotine fountain. His eyes shifted in their sockets to peer at Reno over a weathered brow.

"Well what?" He asked, his voice guttural, speaking from the back of his throat so as not to dislodge the cigarette between his lips. Reno scowled and Knotch rolled his eyes in response, returning to lighting his cigarette. He took a long drag and exhaled, a small, satisfied smile creeping onto his face.

"It's done." He said. "Wasn't easy, that Wallace guy's a scary son of a bitch, damn near blew my head off when I mentioned Corneo's name. The woman bought into it though, she'll be heading for the Don's soon enough, you just need to get her there with that carriage and sort out that SOLDIER kid."

A moment passed in which the Turk scrutinised the man's face. At last he nodded his assent and taking his hand out of his pocket he reached toward Knotch's neck. The man recoiled. Reno raised an eyebrow, and inclined his head towards the key pressed between the fingers of his extended arm. The smoker, expression wary still, acquiesced, settling back into place as Reno slid the key into a tiny slot on the collar covering the man's throat. He twisted it. A beep followed, signalling the deactivation of the explosive. He twisted it the other way and with a small ping the collar came loose and he pulled it from the man's neck before pushing himself off the bonnet and trudged around to the back of the car. He opened the door and threw the collar inside, then reached for the materia-loaded bangle resting beside the belt buckles. Slamming the door shut behind him he walked back to the car's front and handed Knotch the bangle before he resumed his position atop the hood. Holding the cigarette between his lips, the man examined the accessory, popping the materia out of their slots with a distinct 'clack' followed by another as he pressed them back into place with his thumb. Satisfied, he slid the bangle onto his wrist.

"Ya didn't have to leave that on, y'know." Knotch muttered, taking another drag of his cigarette. Reno shrugged.

"Insurance. Make sure you didn't go running off to warn the Don."

A snort escaped the man beside him at the remark, followed by a muttered dismissal of the idea.

"No?" Reno asked, a little surprised. "Even with your two brothers working for him?"

Knotch shook his head; lifting his hand to take the cigarette from his mouth he tapped it twice, spilling ash on the yellowed ground.

"No relationship with them. Scotch is a moron who thinks he's a master hitman. Couldn't shoot shit out of his own ass, if you ask me. Never met Kotch, only found out about him at my mother's deathbed."

A brief quiet followed, broken by another question that occurred to the Turk.

"How'd you get involved with Corneo anyway?"

Knotch gave a low, mirthless chuckle at this, taking another puff of his cigarette before replying.

"Born into it, family business, you might say. My mother was one of his workers…a Luca Street Lady, as they used to call them. S'pose it was just a hazard of the job that she'd get pregnant. She had me when she was very young, Scotch some twenty years later, Kotch not too long after that, I think. All different fathers, mine was a man called Harte. He's got a legitimate son a bit younger than me, he's done alright for himself I hear."

He grinned at Reno, whose eyes widened in realisation.

"The deputy Mayor?"

Knotch grinned, though it didn't quite meet his eyes.

"Thought you'd enjoy that little easter egg."

He took another drag of his cigarette.

"I was doing work for the Don from the moment I could walk. You had to have your wits about you, let me tell ya. Kid or not, rival gangs'd shoot ya dead if you weren't fast enough. Was all about talking your way out of trouble and talking another sucker into it. Coercion and all that. Probably why I'm such a fine conversationalist nowadays, as I'm sure you'll agree." He said, with a more genuine smile.

"Your mother didn't try to protect you?" Reno asked, without malice. Another humourless laugh from Knotch followed.

"What was she going to do? Say no to him? He'd have just killed her, and me. A new whore isn't hard to come by in Wall Market." He scratched his chin, looking out at the wastes ahead. "She always had self-respect though, my mother, always took pride in keeping a clean house. Funny woman she was too."

"She teach you all those little jokes of yours?" Reno quipped, corners of his mouth twisting into a slight smile.

"Ah now, those are all original." Knotch retorted. "You did meet some real characters in that line of work though, met even more when I got out and started seeing the world and its people."

"Good for stories." Said Reno. Knotch quirked his head to the left in a lazy sign of agreement.

"I'm not really a storyteller, y'know. The storytelling was always more of an aside to pick up a bit of Gil at pubs. Not to say I don't enjoy it, o' course. But I'm more of a traveller, myself. Stories just arise from that, I suppose. The world's a mysterious old place, things to discover, drinks to be drank, men in suits to be kidnapped by, you know yourself. "

Reno chuckled.

"I do wonder though, what Wall Market will be like without the Don." Knotch said before taking another puff of his rapidly shrinking cigarette.

"Probably just be someone else to take his place, keep it a shithole." Reno replied, despondent. Knotch laughed, a hollow one mixed with a light, wheezing cough.

"That's about what I'd expect from a Plate dweller like you, heaven forbid the folks living down there might try and take advantage and improve the situation."

Reno felt another prickle in his stomach, the same one from before, the one that always arose when he was challenged about the Slums, about himself. He wasn't really sure what drove him to say what he said next, something in him just spurred it to the tip of his tongue.

"I was born in the Slums, y'know."

Knotch turned his head to meet the Turk's eyes, surprised.

"Sector 2…lived in Lower Figaro, right at the height of the gang wars with the Corpse Brigade in Gollund."

At this Knotch removed the cigarette from his mouth, which promptly fell open into an expression of utter shock. Reno looked at him, almost amused by the response.

"You? You grew up in Figaro?"

Reno nodded.

"Lived there until I was eight. My mother was killed in a gang attack, got caught in the crossfire I guess, it happened a lot back then. My old man got a job with Shinra eventually and we could afford a decent place on the Plate. He hated the Slums, and everyone in them, said the people of the slums were stupid and dirty and every other insult under the sun. He was a cynical old bastard, didn't want to be like him at all as a kid. Guess I ended up being more like him than I thought." He said, lips pulling into a wry smile. Knotch turned his head away to gaze out at the wasteland once more, mouth still agape.

"Fuck me…" He murmured. "Lower Figaro huh…and here I had you pinned as one of those well-to-do Plate dwellers."

Reno smirked.

"And what if I was? They aren't all pompous rich bigwigs, y'know."

Knotch scratched his chin. Reno rather thought he looked uncomfortable. It surprised him, how he felt no satisfaction at finally having the man on the defensive.

"I suppose that's true." Knotch conceded at last. "Seems for all my experience I'm as guilty of being presumptuous as anybody else."

"Think we're all guilty of that." Reno replied.

Another dull thud resounded behind them, accompanied by a distinct, screeching cry. Reno stood up and turned to face the sector gate, watching as his partner walked through, leading a large vivid gold bird after him by the reigns. He could tell from Rude's sagging shoulders that the bird had been something of a handful, though Rude never was good with Chocobos. The bird followed him willingly enough, however, and came to a stop beside the car, which looked diminutive next to the majestic creature. Knotch hopped off the bonnet, dropping his cigarette and stamping it out with his boot, the wizened skin around his eyes crinkling as he looked the bird up and down, scrutinising every aspect of its appearance.

"She's not seen enough of the sun, this one." He growled. Rude glared at the grey haired man over the rims of his sunglasses.

"Just take the damn thing." He grumbled in response, handing Knotch the reigns.

"I still can't believe these things fucking exist." Reno said, shoving his hands in his pocket as he looked the golden feathered Chocobo over.

"Beautiful, aren't they?" Knotch spoke as he stroked the back of the bird's neck; it closed its eyes in lazy approval. "She'll look even better once she gets a bit of fresh air and some decent food, won't ya girl?" He finished with a pat of the bird's strong spine.

"The hell do you want with a golden one anyway? Wouldn't a regular one have done for travelling?"

Knotch grinned.

"You ever hear tell of the Desert Rose?" He asked, looking first at Reno who shook his head, and then to Rude who did the same. "It's this rose that's said to grow in the Corel Desert, the only life in a land of lifelessness. Now, the Corel Desert ain't lifeless by any means, full of monsters, and if they don't kill ya the heat will. So I need this Chocobo to find these special materia, Master Materia they're called. They're meant to be naturally occurring materia that are ridiculously powerful, more powerful than any other regular materia. I reckon with those I can journey right into the heart of that desert and find my rose." He explained as he hoisted himself onto the Chocobo's back.

"Chasing fairytales?" Reno asked, a smile forming on his lips. Knotch grinned, looking out at the wasteland ahead of him.

"Look at this place, not a bit of life for miles. People are so determined to leave a mark on the world they don't notice the scars they leave in the process. But imagine if a single rose bloomed here, in somewhere as dead as these wastes? That'd be a good one to tell tales of."

He turned back to face them, still grinning.

"No hard feelings I hope, lads. I know you Turk lads are more for pushing buttons than for having them pushed."

At this Reno erupted into laughter. If only Knotch knew how timely that comment was, he might express something other than mild confusion at the Turk's off-kilter amusement.

"Goodluck with your travelling, old man." Reno said at last, composing himself.

Knotch stared at him, a hardness in his eyes, and no sign of his usual humour on his face. Reno stared back, ignoring the prickle in his gut.

"You're not a bad fellow, for a Turk." He said, before turning to look out at the horizon. "Not bad at all." And with that he kicked his heels against the Chocobo's sides and set off, the bird trotting at a light pace towards Kalm. They watched him go, bouncing to and fro atop the creature's back. Rude stepped forward and pulled his gun from inside his jacket, a C-96, and made to aim at the shrinking figure a few hundred yards ahead. Reno raised a hand to stop him.

"Let him go Rude."

His partner looked at him, a silent question coming from those shaded eyes.

"A lot of the time I tell myself we do what we do for the greater good, y'know. That we really aren't that bad…like he said. But he's gotten me thinking, about what I think about myself and everyone else. And with what we're gonna do now, drop a Plate on top of thousands of people, just to get rid of one small group…I'm starting to wonder."

He received no response from Rude, and so continued, turning back towards his car.

"I wonder, when he tells this story to other people, and figures out what I've done, will he still think I'm not one of the bad guys?"

Rude holstered his gun with a sigh.

"At least I don't have to catch that damn bird." He muttered. Reno chuckled.

"I'm gonna catch up to him some day, and see how he tells the story. See if he hates my guts for misleading him...or will he understand why I did it? How I felt about it?"

"Do what you have to do." Rude replied, and Reno smiled. Rude knew better than to argue with him when he was in pensive mood.

"You're taking the heat from Tseng though." He said as he turned to open the passenger door. Reno shrugged.

"Relax." He replied as he plopped into the driver's seat and started the engine. "Tseng's not gonna care, not like giving him the bird's ever going to come back to haunt us."

He turned the car to the left and, with a final look out the window at the receding figure of the man and his Chocobo, sped off towards the highway, with that damned prickling arising in his stomach once more. He'd long since realised what it was, though he couldn't quite bring himself to admit the truth of the little trickle of emotion.

Turks aren't supposed to feel shame.

The End.


Author's Note: The entirety of this fic was basically a word dump to get me back into the swing of writing again. Considering it was written some ten months ago, I'd say it succeeded entirely in failing to achieve that goal. Primarily I wanted to focus on snappy and entertaining, pulp-fiction esque dialogue with this, so any feedback on that would be greatly appreciated. The plot is thinner than a marathon runner, and exists purely to facilitate the dialogue writing. Realistically this fic shouldn't have seen the light of day, but eh, fuck it. I wrote a thing, might as well publish it.

Feedback, constructive, deconstructive, destructive and all other manner of "-uctives" is greatly appreciated. Thanks for taking the time to read and peace and good health to ya.

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