Characters: Reno, ElenaLocation: Shin-Ra HQ; few blocks down the street laterSummary: Rude's still away. Reno's bored (surprised?), Elena is bothered, and both are lacking caffeine. They go on a hunt for some breakfast while entering an awkward conversation, and end up encountering something of interest along the way...Warnings: None, really. Maybe some mention of porn and a dead animal.Reno: Bright light filtered through the windows, announcing that it was a morning. An early morning at that.Reno peered at his watch, the face having slipped to the inside of his right wrist. Oh God. It was only seven-thirty. He sank further down into his seat, eventually swinging his feet over onto the desk in front of him, behind which Elena was sitting and click-clacking away on the keyboard like a good little girl.Why the hell was he here at seven-thirty? Of his own accord, no less? He couldn't even blame this one on the boss or Tseng. For some ridiculous reason, he'd woken up at the blasphemous hour of seven a.m., skipped his coffee to hop over to Shin-Ra HQ, and immediately felt the urge to crawl back to bed--but unfortunately lacked the ability to actually fall asleep, no matter how hard he tried.Dammit. This sucked. A lot.Maybe Rude being out of town was messing with his mind.Of course, now that he was here and semi-awake, he did have several options. He could a) do the paperwork that he was roughly a month behind on, b) hunt down some coffee because the current coffee machines at Shin-Ra were broken and everyone was too lazy to get it fixed or c) bother Elena. Normally, he would throw in a d) bother Rude until he looked ready to strangle something, but Rude was unfortunately absent.There was also the option of bothering Rufus or Tseng, but he didn't quite have the mental capacity at this early in the morning to handle them.Paperwork was out, of course. Screw the coffee.That left Elena. A good choice, considering he didn't have to move anywhere.Reno tore a corner off a piece of paper, crumpled it into a ball, and tossed it. There was sadly no cleavage to aim for with the Turk uniform, but her forehead would do just as well.Elena: Elena actually hated Tuesday mornings more than their Monday counterpart. Not only was Tuesday the second-furthest day from the weekend, it also had nothing to look forward to or to look fondly back on. Tuesdays were Tuesdays. On Mondays, at least, you had an excuse to be cranky. Wednesdays were tolerable because they were the 'hump' of the week (and because Forensic Investigations: Junon aired on channel fourteen at nine pm), Thursdays looked forward to Fridays, and Friday was the gateway to the weekend. A Turk's work was never done (as Tseng was so fond of reminding them at meetings), of course, but at least on Saturday and Sunday (barring any extraordinary situations, of course) the work could be done from home and didn't require waking up before noon, or even wearing more than PJs and a bathrobe. Tuesdays were dull and boring and had no merit whatsoever. And that was why they sucked.Seven-thirty was an ungodly hour, but, for some reason, it found Elena at her desk, typing away. She stared at Reno over her reading glasses, stifling a yawn. "'Morning, sunshine," she said dully. "Are you actually here to--gasp--WORK this early on such a depressingly gray day?" The paper wad aimed at her face--and easily batted aside--answered her question."Guess not."Reno: It was a damn shame he didn't hit his target, but he hadn't really expected otherwise. The paper ball fell on the floor and rolled a few inches before stopping.Reno peered back at her through the filter of red hair that fell over his eyes and that he was too lazy to push away right now. He snorted. "Work? Me? Why did you even ask?" He reached for one of the pens on her desk and began twirling it lazily between his fingers. "Work is for the hopelessly masochistic." He poked the pen in her direction before resuming the twirling process. "Especially paperwork. Why the hell are you even filling them out? You realize Tseng never reads the damn things, and the Pres only asks for them because he likes demanding things from people and getting it, right?"He eyed the frames perched on her nose and tilted his head slightly. "On the other hand, you doing paperwork does get you to wear your glasses." He gave her a blatant wink, knowing it was only a matter of time before she took the bait.Hell, this was too easy. Not that it required much pretending on his part; for all the faults he poked and picked on Elena about, he did know pretty when he saw it.Elena: Elena sighed. "I do paperwork because it's part of my job," she told Reno for the millionth time. "When the guy who signs my paycheck asks me to jump, I have to ask 'how high?'." It was an old argument of theirs...stemming from way back before even Meteor. Wow. Five years? Six years? For living a surprisingly dull life after Kadaj and his merry band had been defeated, time did go by pretty fast.The Turk chose to ignore Reno, as usual...but even the silence was comfortable. A couple years ago they would've been jumping down each other's throats at the slightest provocation--especially when the coffee machine would break down...as it did more often than not--but time and the eventual lack of subjects to fight about meant that even their bickering had become mostly out of habit. She overlooked his blatant flirting to remark on the glasses. "You like 'em?" Elena asked, genuinely interested. "I must be getting old or something. Used to be that I could get by without wearing them but now I'm blind as a bat if I read without them. I mean," she joked, "I've been legally able to drink for TWO WHOLE YEARS now. I'm ancient!"Reno: The easily anticipated words provoked a roll of the eyes from Reno. "Yeah, and when the height isn't enough to bother with, then you tell him to screw off." He stopped, considering his words as he placed the end of the pen between his lips, unconsciously holding it like he would a cigarette. "But in terms that won't get your head blown off. 'Sides, you're a Turk. You get this far, no one's firing your ass for not scribbling on a stack of papers. Especially not these days." The position may have been vied for in the past, but after all that had happened, it was damned hard to get anyone hired for Shin-Ra. At least, anyone competent. They'd gotten shitloads of idiots.More than they had prior to Shin-Ra's fall, anyhow.He blinked at her sincere curiosity, then grinned. "All you need is a schoolgirl outfit, and we've got the kinks worked out." He tossed the pen back on her desk, bored with it now, and lit a cigarette instead, raising an eyebrow at her. "You're ancient? What does that make me, part of some past mythology?" Holy shit, but now that he looked back on it, he'd been a Turk for--what--a decade? More?Christ.He sat up in his chair and spun to actually face Elena. "Probably a good thing you had that going for you. Three years of being bored, least you could do is get to booze it away."Elena: Elena shrugged. "Yeah, well. I'm still the newest one here--as you so kindly remind me at least twice a day--so I try to stay on the President's good side. I have a feeling that Tseng doesn't care that much...or he wouldn't if it weren't standard protocol...but I've seen what Rufus can do with a shotgun." The much shorter Turk stared over her frames at Reno. "I bet that they just tolerate you because you're a freaking Shin-Ra institution." Well...that and the fact that he was one of the deadliest assassins in the history of their unit. His ego didn't need any more inflation, though.And speaking of ancient history... "I've still got the schoolgirl outfit," she said mischievously, falling into their old routine. Skirt might be a little...short, though." She giggled. "You're more than ancient. You're whatever-the-hell cat-dog species that Red XIII is...all but extinct."With that, she pushed her spectacles back up the bridge of her nose and went back to her computer screen. "I'm not you Reno," Elena snorted, rolling her eyes. "Still," she murmured, staring at a spreadsheet, "It's nice not having to be the designated driver all the time. Now I can shove it on Rude!" It was some sort of unspoken rule that Reno was never asked to perform that particular duty. It was too dangerous.Bored now, Elena chanced a glance at the little clock on the lower-right of the screen.7:52.Crap.Reno: "Sometimes three," Reno replied. "It's hard to remember if I've reminded you already, I have a lot of things in my schedule." A stream of smoke floated upwards as he exhaled. "Rufus can do more with a pen and a few choice words. The shotgun's just for people who don't listen." Such as himself. But he hadn't gotten shot yet. At least, not by the President. That had to say something, didn't it?Well. Maybe it just said Rufus didn't want to bother with Reno's whining in attempts to squeeze out more sick days than what a bullet wound would require."They love me because I'm the only one who knows how to have fun around here." Actually, he had to admit, Rude and Elena were pretty entertaining themselves, but only if he pushed enough. And got them drunk enough."The shorter the merrier," he remarked. He'd quite honestly never seen this mysterious schoolgirl uniform of Elena's, but he had a feeling it probably did exist somewhere underneath her bed. He would egg her on to show him a picture, except she never would offer him such blackmail-worthy material.He studied the filter end of his cigarette absently. It was true that Elena had always been their driver. Not that he could really recall being driven home any of those times. (Hell, he could never remember anything that happened roughly two hours prior to one of those two finally deciding he'd had enough and dragging him home—or more frequently, to Rude's place). Though even now, she still drank the least out of all of them, with the exception of Tseng. Rude could actually consume a hell of a lot if he actually had a mind to.Elena's expression shifted slightly as her eyes caught onto something located to the right of her screen. Reno straightened in his chair almost immediately, leaning forward on the desk. "What?"Elena: Pulling a face, Elena regarded her co-worker. "Ugh...you're a total lech! Worse than an old man."She sighed, looking completely and totally dejected. "It's only 7:52. Even after all that, it's only been twenty-two minutes...we've still got, like, twelve hours left until quitting time." And even longer until FI: Junon. "WHY THE HELL ARE WE HERE SO EARLY?!" she cried, also feeling the burn of a total lack of caffeine in her system. "Tseng's not even here yet...and I bet that the President isn't even awake yet. Not to mention the fact that Rude's away..."The Turk abruptly rolled her chair back from her desk and stood up. "Screw paperwork. I'm going to get breakfast." There was a pretty palatable deli down the street that made really good onion bagels...and..."I need coffee. You coming?"Reno: With a huff, Reno leaned back in his seat. "Jesus, make me think you saw a time bomb or something, why don't you." Not that that would've been an entirely bad thing...it would've certainly brightened things up around here.He took another peek at his watch, which was running about five minutes late if he were to compare it to the computer. She was right, though. It was way to damned early and far too little time had passed. And the one time he was actually at the office early, both Tseng and Rufus weren't around to witness it. Maybe it was just as well. Wouldn't do any good for either to clot an artery or two and stroke. Then who would sign his cheques?Stifling a yawn, he ran a hand through his hair, reaching back to tighten his ponytail. Food sounded attractive. Coffee sounded even more so."Hell, yeah, I'm there." He stuck the cigarette between his lips and slid off his chair, fingers trailing along the surface of her desk as he passed by it on his way over to where Elena stood.If he was lucky, he'd somehow get her to fork over some gil for the both of them.Elena: Picking up a pen and a memo pad, Elena hastily scribbled a note, should anyone come into the office to find it empty.Tuesday, 0752 hrs:Reno and myself are going out. Will return by 0900. Have PHSs. -ElenaShe looked up to see Reno fussing with his hair and messing with a cigarette and generally fidgeting, antsy to get going. Like a five-year-old. Her lips curved upwards into a small smile as she watched. It faded quickly, however, when she saw his eyes light up with an all-too-familiar glint."You're paying for yourself, you know."Reno: Foot tapping absently, he waited by the entrance for Elena to finish off her note. So damn organized. Then again, if Elena disappeared without a word, Tseng would actually get worried. If Reno went AWOL, Tseng would consider it typical and probably feel a little relieved unless he found he couldn't reach him via PHS.He gave her a mock-injured expression. "It wounds me that you'd automatically think I'd use people just for their money. Who do you think I am, Rufus?"He pulled open the door, pausing abruptly as he nearly ran into a passing secretary, then turned back to wait for Elena to catch up.Elena: Elena shrugged. "I know you too well. After all the beers you've made me and Rude buy, it stands to reason that a cup of coffee would be the same."Walking out, she apologized profusely to the secretary that Reno had nearly run down for him and informed her that they would be heading out, but would be back soon. Did she want something from the cafe while they were there? The secretary only stared sullenly at Reno's retreating back, so Elena figured that was a pretty firm "No, thank you, I'll be fine." Or something.She ran up to Reno, trying to keep pace with his long legs and equally long strides. They completely bypassed the elevator to the garage...but around here parking was a nightmare, and it was really only a couple blocks away. The two Turks could use the smog-filled air, right?Reno: "Hey, that's your own damn fault for being so nice," he pointed out to Elena, ignoring the secretary. She hadn't fallen down or even broken a nail. "You realize you could've snagged my wallet all those times I was passed out, yeah?"Hmm, maybe he shouldn’t have told her that. Ah, well, too late now.The fluorescent lights in the hallways were glaringly bright, and neatly reflected off the tiled floors. He swore they did this on purpose, to amplify the massive migraine hangovers already induced in a person. The President was cruel indeed.As they passed the elevator leading to where the vehicles were located, Reno contemplated protesting, but figured it didn't really matter. They were trying to waste time, not move quickly. He slowed his pace, falling into step with Elena as they reached another elevator.Swiping his ID card down the side, he jabbed the button with his index finger and waited until it dinged open, then stepped inside."Where're we even heading?"Elena: Elena had been about to grab her own ID card--the same one, she thought with a shudder, that Kadaj used on the President as bait--when Reno actually took the initiative and opened the elevator himself. On time AND being gentlemanly? Wow, had he been smoking something other than his favorite brand of Cancer-stick lately? "Special Greens," perhaps?"There's a deli down the street that just opened," she found herself saying absently. "I figured that I wanted to try it." Lots of businesses were opening and flourishing now, and it almost felt like Midgar--Edge, as it was now called--was finally getting back on its feet after Meteor and starting to resemble the thriving metropolis it had once been. That was heartening.They rode down to the lobby in silence. It was still fairly empty, probably because of the time. Elena's heels clacked loudly against the marble floors...too loudly. This conversational lag was becoming rather uncomfortable."So...uh...how 'bout those Chocobo races, mm?" she started lamely.Reno: "Mm." Reno grunted in response, leaning against the elevator wall. He didn't particularly care where the hell they were heading, really. He took another drag on his cigarette, the smoke lingering a little longer than it usually would have with nowhere to go within the confines of the elevator.As the words "Chocobo races" left Elena's lips, he turned to her with a single raised eyebrow. Oh God, she'd resorted to the Chocobos. The conversation really was dying.Unlike his female companion, however, Reno couldn't do small talk for shit unless he was openly flirting or was actually scouting out potential targets."Elena," he stated. "The Turk television displays everything from Saturday morning cartoons to hardcore porn. But Chocobo races do not ever make their way across that screen."At least, not when he was around. Watching Tseng organize his desk was far more entertaining than viewing a bunch of feathered creatures zooming along as fast as possible. Unless he had a bet going on.Crap, but he'd just killed the conversation with that, hadn't he?The elevator dinged again, briefly interrupting the silence. Reno slipped out into the lobby and didn't stop to wait, trusting Elena could follow him out.Or maybe it would be better if she tripped and fell. Then they'd have something to talk about.Elena: "Shut up," she muttered, reddening, at his back. "It was supposed to be a joke."...wait. "It shows porn? Since when?" Had Reno actually successfully lobbied the President to let him watch "the good shit" on the Company's dime? "Y'sure you weren't just watching a rap video on MTV while drunk? All those gyrating hips and female exploitation could give you the wrong idea," she pointed out."And I like chocobos," Elena added, sullenly. She ran up to Reno, clacking even louder than before. "...are you totally sure you weren't just watching a music video?"Reno: Not looking back, Reno didn't catch her blushing. He sidestepped a dropped piece of paper, wondering how long before someone either picked it up or slipped on it and twisted an ankle.He stopped in his tracks as the word porn nearly echoed through the slightly empty halls. A few heads turned briefly. "You're not questioning my ability to detect sex, are you?" He continued walking. "It's called illegitimate cable. Happens when you fiddle enough with the wiring." It'd been done with the help of some guy down the backstreets somewhere who owned a rundown pawn shop. He would've tried to get Rude into helping him, but he was pretty sure Rude would only give one of his looks that conveyed everything without having to say a word."Yeah, and I like food," Reno said. "Doesn't mean I wanna watch a guy stuffing his face all day long." He pushed open the lobby door, letting in a breeze of cool air.Elena: Elena followed close at his heels, muttering darkly about 'making a scene' and wondering why his ass hadn't been fired yet. She hopped over the fallen paper with half a mind to throw it away, but she knew he wouldn't stop for her if she did.Out the ornate glass doors and into the (far too early) morning sunlight they went: two Turks on a mission to find bagels and some sort of caffinated beverage. The sudden change from climate-controlled building to the much colder outside air made Elena glad for her suit coat as she tried to match Reno's long strides, a welcome diversion from the tedium of paperwork that she had abandoned upstairs. She pointedly ignored the comment about food...as she had ignored most of what her red-headed co-worker said for the past five years. They walked in this fashion for a half a block or more before Elena noticed a small, dark hump on the pavement."Eeew, what's that?"Reno: The change of scenery was damn good. He hated the office setting. It was dull. Not that the city around consisted of a hell of a lot more colour than the Shin-Ra building did, but at least there was more activity than secretaries delivering files and the click-clacking of fingers flying over keyboards. The only reason Shin-Ra had been able to nab him was because he'd been blissfully ignorant of the office aspect prior to his recruitment.Well, okay. That and the fact that it paid well.The furry lump on the ground was passed by without a second glance until Elena's voice erupted behind him.Reno spun around and peered at her a little irritably. "Jeez, it's just a frickin' rat." He toed the dead animal with his foot. Instead of it shifting like a normal, meaty carcass would, the flesh outside seemed to…sink. And the weight seemed far lighter than it should have. There was an odd scent, too, suddenly, something he hadn't noticed earlier or had merely attributed to the many strange smells around here. Acidic, almost.Weird. What the hell?He frowned down at the rat, but quickly ignored the odd sensation. It was just a rat, for fuck's sake. Why was he getting concerned over a corpse? He glanced at Elena. "C'mon, you want bagels or you wanna fry up the rat instead?"Elena: Well, yeah, anyone could tell it was a rat. But that didn't account for the weird smell and...well...the vibe around it. It looked like it'd been dead for a few hours at least, but even the ants--so quick to dispose of other dead creatures, including human corpses--were completely absent. Elena felt her stomach do a quick little summersault when Reno kicked at it and the flesh caved in on itself. She had to look away, swallowing a few times to rid herself of the bile that had travelled up her throat. "Okay, whatever. Let's just go."
Wow...! That made my day. Excellent character portrayal, wording and pace!
Turks are love!