Challenge Pairing: Tseng and Rude, no romance.
Fic Title: One of a Hundred Thousand Deaths
"...and so we have three hours to get our target before the boat from Junon
leaves. Any questions?" The car moved smoothly through the streets of the
city, its thick, bullet-proof glass muting most of the sounds outside. The
driver, a slender Wutaian in a blue suit, glanced over at his silent
"Only one," the other man said after a moment. He, too, wore an identical
blue suit, though there the similarity ended. He barely seemed to fit
inside the immaculate seat, though somehow he managed to balance an open
briefcase on his lap as well as a styrofoam cup in his hand. "Why did you
bring me with you this time, and not Reno?"
The driver hit the brake pedal hard to avoid a pedestrian. The briefcase on
Rude's lap snapped shut while the big man caught the coffeecup before it
"Dammit, Tseng!" Rude swore. "The hell."
Tseng smirked. "I knew I wouldn't have to clean my car after you." He put
the car in gear and took a left. "That, and we may just be able to catch
our target without a chase. We're supposed to avoid bloodshed this time if
at all possible."
Rude raised a brow over the top of his ever-present black glasses.
"Don't ask me," said Tseng, "But the order is from Rufus."
"Ah." Rude spoke as if that explained everything, earning another glance
from his fellow Turk. "What?"
"You say 'ah' like it means something. Elaborate."
"I'm a man of—"
"Few words, right, right. Heard it. Save the strong silent act for the
President. What do you know?"
Rude sighed and rolled his eyes. "Rufus is sleeping with the target's
daughter. She probably asked him to go easy on the guy."
"Oh, bloody fucking hells. Next they'll expect us to interrogate people by
saying please and thank you. Goddammit, ShinRa's growing soft."
"Mm-hmm." Rude took a sip of coffee and looked out the window.
The building was only a few blocks away. Tseng parked the car and the two
men got out. People pretended not to see them. Turk suits were designed to
blend in, though the Turk reputation did more for that than any clothing
could. If you didn't watch what a Turk was doing, you weren't a witness.
There were a lot of times where witnesses were—discouraged.
So it was easy for them to walk casually into the lobby of one of the
richest corporations owned under the ShinRa umbrella. They were able to
ascend to the highest floor, unchallenged by any of the black-suited
guards. They were even allowed into the main penthouse office, where their
target began shooting wildly at them.
"Dammit, we just want to talk to you!" Tseng cried as he ducked behind a
"I won't talk! ShinRa is corrupt! I have proof! I swear, I'll go to the
Rude and Tseng sighed in unison. It was so routine.
The man hid behind his desk, firing every so often. "Amateur," muttered
Tseng from his makeshift shield. Pages from exploded books fluttered around
him like cherry blossoms. "Why do they always resist? You'd think they'd
know by now."
Rude shrugged. He looked impressed when a shot actually hit the wall near
his head. "His aim is improving."
"Fuck it." Tseng checked his weapon, though it was in as perfect working
order as his car's engine. "The guy resisted. The girl can screw Rufus for
comfort." Louder, he said so the man could hear him, "On three?"
The man screamed at them, tried to run at One. Tseng and Rude came out at
Two, and the target was down at Three. Tseng picked his way over the body
to retrieve a briefcase, then the two of them strolled back down to the
main lobby. Police streamed past them, officers shouted orders into radios
while ambulances pulled up all around them. The two Turks crossed the
street and got into Tseng's car.
They were halfway across town when Rude noticed the red spot on the carpet
under his shoe. "Uh, Se?"
"Dammit, Rude," Tseng hit the steering wheel with his hand. "I take back
what I said. You're as bad as Reno." He swerved to avoid a bicycle courier,
and once more, Rude's reflexes kept the cup from hitting the floor.
"At least I didn't spill my coffee." He looked out the window. "Reno would
have spilled his coffee."
Tseng smiled. "You're right. He would have."
"Yeah. I know a great place on 5th."
"Not Wutaian again?"
"Why not? You got a problem with my people's cuisine?"
The day went on.