Characters: Rude and RenoLocation: Shin-Ra HQSummary: Rude comes back from vacation, and ends up talking shop with Reno. On the first day back, no less. But at least they’re heading for the bar?Warnings: None unless you count some profanity from Reno.Rude: Rude swiped his keycard through the reader and waited a few seconds for the friendly chirp; it was something he'd missed while he was on vacation. It was silly. Something as simple as an automated entry confirmation response from a machine, bits of circuitry processing his request to enter the Shin-Ra corporation building, running his data through a network of inrformation, pulling his file and checking to see if he possessed the proper clearan...Rude shook his head. Yes, this was what he missed. It was sad but he was glad to be back at work. He pushed open the door and it squeaked a little as it swung open. The office was almost as he left it...bits of machinery lying about on the desk and floor, his monitor flickering in the back of the room. Everything was in place. Except the huge stack of paperwork on his desk. He let his head drop, a little dejected that this was what happened when valued employees went on vacation.Maybe he'd stayed too long...Reno: Pen-twirling was an exclusive art form of the excruciatingly bored. It took a lot of nothingness to be able to just focus on the spinning pen between his fingers. If Reno were in any way religious, he might’ve considered it a form of Nirvana. As it was, he just considered it something to pass the slowly ticking time. It was past five. Just a bit more to go...He technically could have left at any time once he was done his work, but given the many tall stacks of paperwork on his desk, there was really no finishing of his work any time soon. Unfortunately, Elena had learned to retaliate every time he dumped his files onto her lap, and Rude being away meant he couldn’t whine his way into getting his partner to pick up his slack, either.The light flaring from the office across from his caused him spun around in his swivel chair.Speak of the devil.He propped his feet up on his desk, calling loud enough in order to be heard by Rude. “So how’d it feel to finally be able to validate wearing your shades twenty-four/seven?”Rude: So as not to be caught in a weak moment, Rude pulled his head upright and began to busy himself by pretending to sort through a few pieces of scrap paper on the desk. "I wasn't aware that anyone knew I was on vacation. I would say it's because I thought I was missed at work...", Rude craned his neck around the mound of papers, centering Reno in his field of vision. "...but I'm sure Ms. 555-0175 would probably say otherwise." He grinned and tossed the scrap of paper with the phone number on it to his partner. Rude turned his back towards Reno and shrugged his coat off. There had been no need to wear a tie this late in the day; though he hadn't expected anyone to be here, and he was moderately embarrassed that even his own partner saw him looking so casual. But this was his first day back from vacaction. Even as someone who everything was expected of, this was a day where no expectations would be placed. Rude was almost positive that there had been snickers among some of the employees when he had mentioned to Reno that he was taking vacation several weeks before. He knew he deserved the time but he also knew that most people secretly thought he'd spend it bald-headed and suited on the beach, carrying a briefcase full of training manuals and documents. Which wasn't totally true. He had chosen to at least change into a suitable form of beachwear.But there was little reason to think about vacation any more, even as much as he wished he was still there. "Elena leave you with all the paperwork on purpose, or is she off doing something else?"Reno: As Rude spoke, Reno was already making his way across the hall, reaching Rude’s desk in time to retrieve the scrap of paper heading in his direction. He blinked down at it in mild interest. “She a nice catch?” He hooked in a chair with his leg and flopped down on it. “Your work sure as hell missed you,” he said, nodding at the pile of paperwork, almost equal in size to his own. “But you didn’t miss much around here. Most interesting thing was a dead rat, which says a lot.” Okay, Reno had to admit, he did miss Rude, too. It was lonely without a drinking partner, and as amusing as Elena could be, she wasn’t exactly good, male company. Tseng just wasn’t good company, period. And Reno, quite frankly, needed company.One eyebrow arched slightly as he noted Rude had forgone the tie. It wasn’t necessarily the first time, but it didn’t happen everyday, either.He tucked one arm behind his head, waving off Rude’s comment with the other. “The latter. She knows perfectly well there’s no leaving of anything with me if she wants it done. Dunno where she went, though.” Actually, she’d gone to talk to the secretaries about some missing files because she’d been worried about the jump in numbers, but he wasn’t about to reiterate all that unless Rude really, really wanted to know. Which he doubted.“So come on,” he said, grinning. “Gimme some juicy details.”Rude: Rude lined up the sleeves of his coat up and folded it lengthwise before draping it over the back of the empty chair in front of him. Details? Why did he always want details? Even if it was mostly in jest, he regretted bringing the woman up. He'd met her in a bar in Costa del Sol and the two were striking up a decent conversation when it suddenly took an awkward turn for Rude. She recognized him, she said, as the partner of that "devilishly handsome redhead" who she'd promised a good time to; would Rude mind being a doll and "pass him this number"?The good guys never win, he told himself. That's why you're cursed. You're simply too nice.Weighing his options, he finally spoke. "The sunshine was more intense than I expected but the weather remained nice for the entirety of the trip." He straightened the cuffs of his dress shirt, finding them a bit wrinkled after the long drive. "The main hotel is a rip-off but the one directly across the beach gives a good discount --- it seems being a Turk still has a few fringe benefits."Reno: Not quite the details Reno was looking for, but he supposed Rude wasn’t exactly the type to blatantly advertise a chick’s cup size. “The sun was the hottest thing you encountered in Costa?” he asked skeptically, flipping the piece of paper absently between his fingers, and stopping only when he nearly gave himself a paper cut. He might possibly consider calling the number tonight. If he hadn’t lost it by then, which he had a habit of doing.He set the paper back on the desk, atop one of the shorter stacks of files. “Yeah, well, we can still get pretty much whatever the hell we want. We just can’t really do as much.” After a moment, he picked up the paper and began playing with it again. “Though maybe it’s a bonus not to have everybody thing you’re there to shoot someone when you’re just grabbing a damn cup of coffee,” he added, offhandedly. “Speaking of, you should’ve been there for our coffee trip. Elena gave a good squeal when she ran into a rat. Most interesting thing that ever occurred in the past three years, really.” He glanced at Rude. “You think there’s something wrong with that?” he remarked.Rude: Rude's eyes drifted over towards Reno behind the mass of paperwork. His vacation had only lasted a week and already there were several stacks of documents and files. It would take at least two weeks to sort everything out, mostly because Rude saw himself doing the majority of the work. Overall, the life of a Turk was not the glamorous, death-defying position it was made out to be. For this Turk at least, it meant long nights of pencil-pushing, excruciatingly boring recon work, and trying to take care of his two partners. The latter he didn't mind. Reno and Elena were the only exciting things about the job.So, he knew what Reno meant. Elena screaming about a rat was more excitement than they'd had in a long time. Rude remained silent to Reno's question. He felt too uncomfortable with his own feelings about the job to answer it. So he chose to feign ignorance. "Yes, I do think there is something a bit odd about you drinking coffee."Reno: Reno quirked an eyebrow. “Well, if you must be reassured, I added a shot of vodka to it.” Actually, he wasn’t sure what it was he’d added in, but it’d been alcohol—he did know that much. Rude was acting a bit off, but given the fact that he’d just come back from a vacation, Reno didn’t blame him. No one returned from sunny Costa de Sol to a stack of paperwork and remained happy.Unless they were Tseng, but Tseng, as proven many times, was a highly special case and one that Reno had stopped puzzling over a long time ago.He glanced at his partner, who was still sitting behind his desk and eyeing the paperwork. “Don’t tell me you’re gonna get to work on that right now, man. Technically, you’re still off-duty until tomorrow morning.” He leaned forward confidentially. “It is a hell of an opportunity that you absolutely must take advantage of.”Rude: Technically, yes. He was off duty until the next morning. And he had certainly done the majority of what he needed to catch up on while he was still on vacation, even if he had looked a little awkward on the beach. Because he'd been so preoccupied with how things were going back at Shinra he had neglected the personal aspects of vacation in favor of just enjoying the time off. He was happy to be back at work but not necessarily looking forward to the workload. A little more time off sounded like a good idea, and though he hated to admit it, he had missed his "guy time" with Reno."Well, then I guess I'll meet you at the bar in a few minutes." Rude nodded in Reno's direction as he stood to his feet. He picked his coat up off the chair and unfolded it carefully before sliding his arms into it.Reno: Reno didn’t move from where he was slouched in his seat, but he did look up. “What? No way, man, I’m hitching a ride with you. Otherwise, I’m gonna end up having to pick up my damned car again come morning.”It was a known fact that he never, ever drove home after a trip to the bar, if not because he was drunk off his ass, then because he’d anticipated being so and left his clunky little vehicle behind. There would be hell to pay if it turned out he ran over some random bastard that Rufus really needed to manipulate or something. Better not to mow anyone down at all.But there would probably be a good long stretch before he really began downing the drinks tonight. There were a few key subjects he wanted to bring up with Rude. Namely, the President’s stalker. And that was all Reno—all any of the Turks—knew of. He’d long given up on trying to wrap his head around how Hojo was still alive. If it even was Shin-Ra’s long time mad-as-fuck scientist, which there was almost no doubt it was. There were only two insane sonofabitches Reno was aware of, after all. One would almost certainly go after Strife first and probably considered himself too sophisticated to slice letters out of magazines with his Masamune. That left the other. Considerably less powerful on his own, but just as dangerous with his repertoire of mutated experiments. And though the image of Hojo with a pair of scissors on a stack of magazines was still absurd, it was a hell of a lot more so if you swapped Hojo for Sephiroth.Besides, if it were Sephiroth, Reno’s boredom would’ve been cured months ago. Hojo was taking his time, it seemed.Likely a few test tubes were growing behind schedule.Rude: With sunglasses in hand, Rude turned towards the door to leave. "Fine by me. But you're leaving the tip at the bar." His last line was forced, contrived. Typical of his relationship with his co-workers, but especially with Reno. Their encounters were a study in awkwardness; Rude usually settled back into a comfortable but tense association with his partner, but long absences made readjustment difficult. His vacation in Costa had been marked by his unsuitable focus on work and the activities of his partner. Now that he'd returned and stood face to face with Reno, Rude could only think about how much he wished he was still on vacation. Silence was typical for him but he was irritated that his usual composure was close to being shattered. A few drinks would do him well; he'd abstained from drinking in Costa and a glass or two would be enough to calm his nerves and settle he and his partner back into a balanced but offbeat friendship. Things would return to normal, just as they always did. He turned away from his own thoughts when he realized that Reno was still at the desk, unmoved. It was very strange to see him behind a mass of paperwork and much less behind a desk. In an office. "On second thought," Rude said, "just fill me in on what I missed. I don't feel like spending my first day back from vacation sifting through mindless Shinra jargon to find out the simplest of details. I'll consider that payment enough." Rude motioned to the door and waited for his partner to respond.Reno: There was a pause as Reno dug out another cigarette and lit up before standing. He wasn't sure how many he'd gone through within the past eight hours, but he'd been chain-smoking essentially the whole day, while refilling his coffee mug every other hour. It was a good thing he'd yanked out the smoke detector in his office the moment he'd arrived at Shin-Ra's most current headquarters. "Oh, yeah? Cool," he said, heading out the door. Anything that let him skimp on pulling out his wallet was fine with him. Besides, no one liked to shuffle through all that official documents shit. "Not much to update on, though. You know about Fussy's scissor-happy cut-and-paste fan mail, right?" He mimed a pair of cutting scissors with his index and middle fingers, as though it would reinforce what he was saying. "Still ongoing. Man has way too much time on his hands. Think we're all just waiting for the proverbial dead roses to show up or somethin' right now." The halls were mostly empty by this time, with most employees either having finished their work and gone home early, or holed up in their offices in order to get out as fast as possible. Only a few lone secretaries navigated the narrow corridors with their folders tucked neatly under their arms. The new Shin-Ra headquarters was significantly smaller than its predecessor, but given the equally small workforce, it wasn't much of a problem. It also meant Reno didn't have to travel fifty floors every time he wanted to pick something up from another office. He could still remember the time the damned elevators broke down in the old Shin-Ra building. Now that had been a bitch. Reno leaned against the wall beside the elevator, waiting for it to arrive. "Intel says someone's been poking around Midgar, too, mostly in the wastelands." He cast a meaningful glance at Rude, exhaling a cloud of smoke. "And we all know what he's looking for if that's true. On the other hand..." He shrugged, letting ash flutter from the tip of his cigarette. "Don't know how reliable the source is." He pegged it as reliable as any source could be, however. And this time, if the boss wanted them to snatch Jenova again, Reno sure as hell was making sure that they scoped out the situation in far more detail before diving in.Rude: "I'm sure that we'll be going on a road trip to corroborate that statement," Rude said. It was a shame that Shin-Ra's version of intel was picking the most random snitch off the streets, relying on his information and then without checking the statement's authenticity sending its best employees into the field. It was like playing darts with a blindfold on --- there was very little chance of actually hitting the target and if you did, it was sheer luck. This was not the way he had intended to spend his first few days back from vacation. On the other hand, it was more interesting than paperwork. A chime signaled the elevator's arrival and the doors opened to reveal emptiness. Rude stepped in and turned himself back towards Reno. He caught a glimpse of himself in the reflection off the panel and was awkwardly reminded again of his missing tie. There was a spare one in his glove compartment that he could throw on once they reached the car. He stuck his arm out to hold the doors open for his partner.Reno: Emphasis on the "we," Reno thought dryly. It'd been official a long time ago: they really needed more employees. It was stupid for them to have to confirm every bit of intelligence themselves, down to the most minor of details. It was even stupider to have just four people set up a whole fucking network of sources from scratch and expect it to be a third as effective as the former one, which had taken a good couple of decades and far more manpower. Everyone was too busy scurrying around rebuilding the planet that no one put much focus on keeping it rebuilt. Reno ran a hand through his hair and jabbed at one of the buttons on the stainless steel panel. The doors shut. "Yup. Chopper's gonna come out of storage. But we're sure as shit not going until we get more out of that guy, or more out of some other guy. Or both. I'm not flying blindly around from one end of the planet to the other, looking for some damned box in a bunch of rocks again." There was another joyful ding, and the doors slid open, letting them out into the underground parking. A woman walked by with a leather purse clutched in her hand, her heels echoing loudly on the concrete. Reno strolled in step beside Rude as they approached the car, parked not far from the elevator (one side benefit of being a Turk). He opened the passenger door and hopped inside, fiddling absently with his cigarette as he waited for Rude to enter on the other side."Of course,” he continued when Rude finally slid into his seat, “there probably is no neat little box this time.” His eyes narrowed in thought. “So if Hojo is looking for Mother Jenny, what's it he's keeping an eye out for?"It was only after he asked it that he realized that it was a pretty damn good question.
I love the interactions between Reno and Rude ♥ Turks are love!