Perpetually for Science

Chapter One -- Covering Bases

Last Edit Date: 01.03.2005

Warnings: G for odd usage of language and a scientist.

Disclaimer: ... Again, why would I be posting on FFdotNET if they were mine? (Well, Z and her henchmen are mine, but ...) Feel free to nit-pick about anything so I can fix it (except the style, that's here to stay.)

,;;,This is a boarder. Ph34r it,;;,

A jolt of warning rushed down his spine; muscles coiled, and his entire body surged backward, only to bounce off something cold and hard. The world swam, and he shook his head, trying to clear it, but the spining-whirling-dizzy-and-he-couldn't-remember-which-way-was-up wouldn't stop, the world turning-and-tossing-and --

Warning!

Again, he lunged blindly only to be reunited with cold solidity. This time he grasped at it, bare palms on frozen metal, sharp edges digging into the mostly tender flesh. When had he rubbed his hands raw --? Should have a glove, but no, it was cold and harsh against his palm.

A noise jerked his foggy head around, and he glared against the dizzying effect of light and color, and any moment now he'd be sick to his stomach-oh-god-make-the-spinning-stop-because-he-couldn't-take-it-anymore--

"So, she has improved you that much." A feminine voice said, interrupting his internal mantra, and he heard something scratching. His cluttered memory told him the sound was familiar, but he couldn't place it. "Very good, Subject One. I am most pleased I chose you as my specimen."

This word, he remembered, and with it, a torrent of confusing lights and noises -- memories that tormented him in the night, that awoke him screaming and panicking and would linger for days, and not even soft hands that smoothed his hair could make them stop. One of the few memories he wished to forget.

Pain, and aqua light. Suffocating, yet not. Agony, TRAPPED.

The rest came back in a flood.

,;;, This is still a boarder ,;;,

The day was warm and pleasant. It was brighter outside than it usually was, which is probably why no one had paid the bar a visit. Tifa was idling around the bar, wiping down an already clean counter with a rag. She'd cut her hair, deeming it more trouble than it was worth, and now the ends brushed her shoulder. She'd long since abandoned the off-white top and skirt for something a little more appropriate -- a rich burgundy button up over a black shirt and faded cut-offs. She was a businesswoman after all -- not a slum bartender. Since she was through with the counter, she picked up another cloth and began to wipe out the mugs.

Tifa nearly dropped everything when the door slammed open. There was a flash of blond, and the brunet just barely ducked in time to avoid the punch.

"What have you done with Reno?!"

"Hey!" Tifa yelped in shock as another fist came at her, and she had little choice but to toss the thick glass mug at her assailant and dive over the counter where she wouldn't be trapped. She winced when she heard the mug break, but kept moving. "Calm down, would you?" she demanded, and spun to face the other woman, her fist up. "I didn't do anything to your boyfriend!"

She barely had time to block the fist that tried once again to knock her across the room, and had to leap back to avoid the shiny black shoe that tried to clip her nose off.

"Then were is he?" Elena demanded, huffing. She was strangely not in her Turk uniform -- but that was right, they were allowed to retire -- instead wearing a lavender button-up and jeans. Her hair was the same, oddly enough, and it was obvious that she'd taken to wearing make-up.

"I dunno!" Tifa growled, still inching backward just in case the blond erupted again. "Did you have a fight or something?"

Elena snorted, and deflated, her shoulders sinking. "I don't know where you get your information, but Reno isn't my boyfriend, no, we didn't have a fight, and where is Strife?"

Tifa arched an eyebrow at the name -- Elena didn't usually refer to Cloud by his last name. "I don't know. Last I heard he said he was going out to do whatever he does. I don't keep tabs on him, you know."

Elena blinked her large brown eyes. "You don't? I thought you two…"

Tifa giggled nervously. "Nah, Cloud's a little unstable to be in a relationship right now. Half the time he isn't even really here. Disappears for days ... can't keep track of him, though. Somehow, he's gotten good at being scarce when he doesn't want to talk."

"Oh ... and you haven't seen Reno?"

"Should I have? I haven't seen him since that incident down in the tunnels…"

"Mmm…" Elena frowned. "Yeah. I guess it was shortly before that…"

Tifa's ears perked at this. What was going on with Reno? She was curious, of course, but knew better than to ask yet. "Where's Rude?"

Elena glanced back over her shoulder and then sighed. "He said he was going out to look for Reno. I haven't seen either of them for days."

The brunet glanced over her own shoulder, back at the bar. "You want a drink? I'm pretty good at mixing."

"Sure."

They sat in silence for a long time, Elena staring moodily at her drink, and Tifa wondering just how lonely the blond must be. Sure, she herself was lonely because of Cloud's absence, but she had the others to keep her company. They would call, sometimes Reeve would send Cait to visit, occasionally Cid would drop by to drink and complain about Shera, and Barret didn't live far away. All in all, life in Midgar wasn't that bad anymore.

"Planned to come in here to box Strife." Elena said suddenly. "He was the one that really irritated me. He's the one that seemed to have a problem with Reno ... I didn't really think you'd done something, but I was so mad…"

Tifa smiled slightly. "Its okay. Really, Cloud only seems bad until you get to know him. He's really a sweet guy just ... a bit confused, you know? I think that they just have a personality conflict."

"Yeah ... Reno, he seemed really angry lately. He kept ranting about 'that damned Strife', so I just figured ... when he disappeared, you know?"

Tifa blinked, curiosity nigh undeniable. "Yeah, but I don't think Cloud has anything to do with Reno ... Why would Reno still be angry at Cloud after all this time?"

Elena looked up at Tifa with sardonic eyes. "I dunno. Reno likes puzzles, though, and if anyone is a puzzle, I guess Strife would be the highest on the list of the hardest to figure out."

Again, Tifa tittered nervously. "Yeah, I suppose. Everyone knows how hard I worked to unravel that man, but…"

Elena stared at the amber liquid in her mug. "Reno ... he does linger on the past, though. Doesn't act like it, but he does. When he drinks it gets worse, 'cause then he thinks out loud ... Men are so strange when they drink."

Tifa didn't respond to that, unsure as to how she should. They sat in silence for a while longer, when suddenly, a suspicion filled Tifa. "How odd…" she said suddenly, causing the smaller blond in the chair to start slightly. "How many days ago was Reno's disappearance?"

Elena blinked at her and shrugged. "About four."

"Cloud disappeared just three days ago ... You don't think something happened to them?"

Elena frowned. "What do you mean?"

"Cloud certainly has his share of enemies, and I'd find it hard to believe that Reno doesn't." Tifa said, also frowning. "You don't suppose that…?"

Elena's eyes flashed with anger. "I should have known ... Call your friends, I'll see if I can find Rude."

Tifa nodded, turning to reach under the counter for her PHS, while she idly tracked Elena's progress out the door by her shoes. She quickly dialed the system. "Hello? Reeve? I think we have a problem…"

,;;, Everything you didn't know ,;;,

He was alone. He hated being alone. Where was he? What had happened -- why couldn't he remember anything?

This lack of knowledge bothered him in a strange and distant way, and there was the bizarre feeling of non-weight. His eyelids were too heavy for him to lift, though he wasn't sure he wanted them to, because then he would see, and for some reason this was a bad thing.

He could almost feel another presence distantly, something like agitation, though it wasn't aimed at him. Vaguely aware of movement, just enough to know that they were moving at fast speeds, though the ride was smooth.

There was something sickly sweet in his mouth, something in his lungs, but this didn't bother him much, though a dull ache in his arms and neck made him want to claw at his skin for some reason. He couldn't lift his hands though -- too heavy…

Something of a face, frowning. Something of a plan --

But these worries faded with the gentle rocking of his prison, lulling him back into unconsciousness.

,;;,TOBECONTINUED,;;,

Fair warning: This story will have OCs. There may or may not be shoujo-ai and het, at this point, I dunno, but I doubt it. There will be eventual Yaoi -- that I promise.

Most characters will come into play, and there may be (what I consider to be) clichés abound.

I refuse to write Elena as a whimpy chick. She'll just be quick-tempered, impulsive, and over eager -- mostly because that is how I interpret her character during the game. The challenge for me is not writing Tifa as a bitch-slut-whore.

And it may end up seeming that Cloud curses more than Cid. That is simply because I find Cid hard to write.

You know, I'm not sure how I feel about this Fic. Granted, its my very frist attempt at Reno, and also at RenoCloud, but I hope I can pull it off well. (hides in the corner and makes sacifies to her Ebil-Gods-O'-Sin)