a/n: Rejoice… because Karasu got DOLL 2! Celebrate!
…anyway, here I am… again… writing up another DOLL story… again… and adding my own stuff to a story while kicking out the aforementioned story's characters… again. But because I found a loophole in the system (read "A Soulless Doll" for details) I keep churning these little one-shots out in the hopes of making someone cry. Just kidding. Besides, this one won't make you sob. None of the stories in DOLL 2 were really sad… just… eerily cool.
DOLL 2 was oodles more angsty (if possible) than the first one, and some of the stories were a tad freaky. However, I found three that I really liked (there are roughly five in each book), so I'll probably be doing write-ups of those ones as well. Especially the "Makoto" one (that is definitely going to be a Yuffie/Vincent)… but I didn't like the ending to it. So it'll probably turn our mutilated and nasty and horrid, but that's okay. The real ending was simply too happy :-P (God, I sound so morbid…)
This one, however, really doesn't have a pairing, oddly. I changed the ages of the people simply because I freaking felt like it and because I couldn't very well make Heidegger the little boy. I made Rufus into a child… because I like Rufus! And even though they never said anything about his mother… they never said anything about anyone's mother anyways! Well, except Cloud… and Aeris… but other than that, anything about anyone's mother anyways!
Also, btw – Reno and Rude and everyone else you'll see? NO RELATION whatsoever to any other fics. I mean, I made Rufus a bastard in "A Nameless Doll", but now he's this nice little child. So, basically, any of you that've read my other DOLL fics… no relation whatsoever. And yes, I know Cid would've made a better Remodeller-guy than Reno…
Tootles and I'll see you at the end of the fic.
"There he goes again!"
Annoying whisperers. Would they ever shut up?
"In and out of that apartment all day!"
He sighed and shook his head, the light of his cigarette bobbing in the cheap electricity and the futile darkness.
That woman… wasn't she his neighbor or something? Who knew… he never liked them much anyways, but hey, they didn't like him either, so it all worked out.
"Always fetching this or carrying that!" My, for underhand gossip her words seemed to echo off the concrete buildings. "Lowers the tone of the whole neighborhood!"
Aquamarine eyes implored the heavens for nonexistent salvation. As far as he was concerned, any neighborhood with a woman like that in it was screwed no matter how many good guys like him there were. And that hair! Sweet God!
"Waster…" Apparently they'd noticed his annoyed stare, since their volume had decreased at least thirty decibels.
He sneered at them over the sack he carried over his shoulder and waved. They looked at him and then scattered, like ants he had tried to squish with an overlarge sandwich.
Except that time, the ants had all died.
He started and looked down. Never could be too cure of the cops…
Oh. It was just a kid. And a scraggly one, at that.
"…with that sack, you look just like Santa Claus!"
Wide blue eyes the color of darkened ice looked up at him from his crouching position. The kid couldn't have been younger than eight, but he looked even smaller because of his old clothes and rough blond hair. He didn't really look like he'd eaten much either.
But – that was beside the point. What in holy hell was the kid doing outside his apartment? And calling him Santa Claus?
He opened his dirty brown door and left the kid outside, trying not to drop the precious sack.
Jeez, no respectful kids these days.
"You should try harder, Reno. Make at least an effort to get along with the neighbors."
He grunted. "Hn. They all suck." He took a drag on his cigarette while his bald friend, Rude, sighed.
"Remember the last place?"
Reno grimaced. "Like I could forget." His hand holding the cigarette dropped from his mouth and onto his side as he lounged on the old sofa.
Rude frowned – whether at his smoking or the memory, Reno couldn't tell. "…they got to the cops and we got kicked out."
"Screw 'em." Reno stood up suddenly, sticking his cigarette back into the corner of his mouth. He reached for the sack on the low table by the sofa.
"Is that our latest project?" Rude nudges his head over to the bag while Reno opened it. Though he couldn't see them, Reno was pretty sure his friend's eyes were focused on the bag like searchlights.
He overturned the sack and what looked like various human body parts poured onto the bare floor. "Guy I know wants her as human as possible." He thrust his hand into the strange pile and rifted through it. It did not take him long to find what he was looking for and pulled the head out.
"Can you do it?"
Reno rolled his eyes, red hair shifting as he turned around to face Rude. "Do neighbors naturally hate me? Do all smokers die? Do mothers beat their children? Of course I can do it." He held up what he'd been looking for and cocked his head at it.
"Hmmm…" He ran his fingers over the latex skin on the human-appearing head. "I'd say a 'Phoenix' model…" He flicked open one eye and stared at the garnet orb. "Yeah. Goes by the name of 'Tifa', too."
He laid the body out on the couch, holding the doll's head by its long, synthetic brown hair. He laid it next to the body and, sighing suddenly, turned to Rude. "But you're right. We… do need to be careful." He absently patted his hand on the doll's head. "We get caught doin' these… illegal remodeling jobs fordolls … and they'll lock us up for sure."
His best friend nodded before picking up a container filled with dark red liquid. "Here. Use this."
Reno looked quizzically at the jar. "What is that?"
"Synthetic blood." Rude stated, handing the liquid to Reno. "Careful… it's expensive."
Reno's mouth curled up devilishly. "…Yeah. It's worth it, though… isn't it? No shortage of people wanting a cheap upgrade for their doll."
Still smirking, he picked up the mechanical head and kissed the latex cheek. "And thanks to you, sweetheart, a couple of bastards can afford a few of life's little luxuries."
"Why not, dammit?!"
He coiled on his bed, keeping his eyes focused on the book and trying to appear insignificant to his angry mother.
"Am I not good enough for you anymore?!"
She slammed down the phone. "Asshole!" she snarled.
He kept his eyes trained on the text.
She rounded on him, her usually pretty face split in a raging glare. "This is all your goddamn fault!" She raised her acrylic-nailed hands to slap him. "No man'll stay around me for long with you in tow!"
Again and again.
"I'll just keep getting used… and dumped!"
Again… and again… He clutched the book closer to his chest.
"Oh? What's this?"
Again. And stop.
"What are you reading, anyway?" Pale hands snatched the book away. No, no don't take it. Not from me. "Santa Claus is Coming to Town?!"
She flipped through the book pages. Bright, pretty pictures. Bright, pretty words. Hmph. Nothing but bright, pretty lies. "The last 'Santa' to come down our chimney left me with a pile of debts and no place to go but here!"
If I'm just good…
He shuddered involuntarily – from the cold, the hunger, or the fear? He didn't know – and his mother sensed weakness. "Oh, go on and cry again! You're just like your father… a millstone around my neck!" She dropped the book on the ground before turning away from her son and to the kitchen.
Only good… truly good…
The tears did not come to Rufus Shinra's face because they were useless and because they only angered his mother more. The tears never came to Rufus Shinra anymore because he would not let them go and because they were dangerous.
Later, Rufus Shinra would not remember crying softly, soundlessly, with a book crushed to his too-thin chest and no tears on his face but in his eyes.
…Santa Claus will bring me a present this year!
Reno yawned and scratched himself as he came into the kitchen. "…Even when I finally get to sleep… I dream about A.I. subsystems… Christ…" Though it was roughly eight in the morning, Reno already had a cigarette smashed between his teeth.
Rude was silent until the sleepy smoker stumbled into the kitchen. "…It seems someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning."
Reno rolled his eyes. "Yeah, yeah… Hey!" His eyes locked on the small boy sitting in his chair. "What's the brat doing here… eating my breakfast?!"
With annoyingly impossible speed, Rude was behind Reno and cuffing him on the back of his head with his elbow. The redhead was so surprised that the cigarette flew out of his tightly clenched teeth. "I invited him." Rude's voice was smoothly arrogant – something he rarely heard from his quiet friend. "Now sit down and be sociable."
"Hn." Reno grumbled before stealing Rude's chair next to the kid.
Rufus stared down at his bacon. He hadn't known the food was someone else's… "Do you think there's a Santa Claus?" He asked quietly. He maintained eye contact with his bacon.
"Huh?" Early as it was, it took a short span of time for the boy's question to sink into Reno's soft and squishy mind. "Santa Claus? C'mon, kid, how old are y- aieee!"
At this, Reno squealed like a little girl. He spun around and quickly slapped Rude's hand. "How dare you so savagely pinch me?! And on my tender shoulder too!"
"I don't know what you're talking about."
Reno glared at Rude while he grumbled under his breath.
Rufus lost the staring match with his bacon and turned his head to challenge a stain on the tabletop. "Mom says it was just Dad dressed up… but I don't think so."
Because he had turned his head (and because he was too busy losing to the tabletop stain), he didn't see Reno's questioning stare at his cheek, which was covered in a large square bandage. The illegal remodeller said nothing.
"I… I think he's real… and if I'm good… h-he'll come visit me again!"
Rufus bit his lip. "S-So… I keep quiet… even when I really want to cry…" A hand covered in Band-Aids clenched underneath the table.
Rude leaned over from where he sat next to Reno. "Did someone… hurt you?" His voice was firm and warm. Reno absently thought he'd have been an excellent interrogator.
Rufus stabbed a shard of bacon with a vengeful fork. It was obvious that he'd lost to the stain (everyone did, thought Reno).
"Yeah…" The answer was soft and scared. "My mom."
The two friends had no reply to that. Rude looked down at the floor in thought (obviously trying to initiate a contest between himself and a piece of lint) while Reno, being the more lively of the two, scratched his head.
"So… did you ask Santa for something special?"
The words were out of Reno before he even knew what they were. Rufus stared at his fork thoughtfully, refusing to start another pointless match.
"…It's a secret."
It was nighttime when his mother came home. He could hear her coming up the stairs from the apartment courtyard, fancy high heels clacking on concrete.
"You sure it's okay? To use your place?"
Rufus crept back into his bed from the window. She'd brought another friend.
"Don't you have a kid up there or somethin'?"
Reno clicked his key into the door's lock, trying to open it. God, why did he have to have the tempremental lock that wouldn't open on cold nights?
Grumbling about evil neighbors who purposely stole all the good apartments, he turned when he saw a shine of bright blue to his right.
It was the kid's mother. What a tiny flashy dress… did she purposely want a sign that said "Screw me! I'm a prostitute!"?
"Hey, don't worry about him. I don't…"
She opened her door (with ease, Reno noted with annoyance) and led the man inside with her.
Reno narrowed his eyes and subconciously bit down on his cigarette.
Jeez, no respectful parents these days.
Rufus turned over on his futon, trying to ignore the sounds in the other room.
He clenched his bony hands over his ears and buried his head deeper into his pillow.
I'm trying to be good.
But you'd better hurry…
Rufus closed his eyes, leaving his hands on his ears.
In my dreams, at least, all my wishes come true!
"…think he'll like it?"
Reno crouched over next to the bag, fiddling around inside it with his hands. "How should I know? Anyway, it's just a couple spare parts thrown together… no big deal…"
Rude patted Reno on the shoulder. "Sure." Something akin to a smirk settled on Rude's face.
Reno looked down at the sack, a smirk overcoming his face as well.
But not for long.
Rude froze. "Reno… what is that?"
Reno's eyes widened a millimeter before narrowing into slits and snarling. "Cops!"
"What?!" Reno was already running off to the corner of the room, packing up all his stuff. Rude quickly ran over to help him, still in shock. "No! Are you sure?"
"'Course I'm sure!" Reno threw on his blue coat. "Pack everything! Hurry… out the back!" He started throwing some machinery into some bags and crates. Rude quickly began packing as well.
Reno's face was frozen in a scowl. "Nosy bastards… we've only been here what, two weeks?!"
Red liquid splattered all over Reno while Rude cursed.
"Open up in there!"
The policeman outside waited with two women, pounding on the door. "Mr. Reno Akairyu? We have a warrant to search these premises!"
A sound of breaking glass could be heard from outside. The two neighbors stared fearfully at the door. The policeman sighed.
The brunette one (with the ugly hair) timidly said, "There was a body… in a sack!", as if fearing the policeman had decided that he was wasting his time.
"Yes!" Her friend squealed. "We saw it!"
He shoved his glasses up his nose. "Stand back."
Twin shrieks drowned out the soft click of a lock in the back of the apartment.
"Calm down!" The policeman rolled his eyes and held up the human arm that had startled the women. "It's just a spare arm from a robot… a body indeed!" he snorted.
Rufus sat on his futon, drowning in the pretty words of his favorite book. His mother was out again.
He turned around and gasped. Without hesitation, he threw open the window.
Reno grinned. His coat was covered in what appeared to be blood. The sack over his shoulder had not escaped the red liquid, either – it had several messy spots on it. Rude was behind him, pushing the smirking man inside.
"Heads up, kid… Santa's in town!"
For the first time in several months, Rufus Shinra's face split into a giant smile.
"Brrr! It's cold out there!"
She slipped her boots off by the door. There was still snow on her socks.
"Hey, I'm home! Are you-"
She stepped into the living room and froze. "…wha…"
Her son turned around, smiling.
"Look, mom… Santa Claus really does exist!"
Her eyes were locked on the person sitting with Rufus.
"He didn't have a white beard… but his clothes were red!"
Rufus Shinra sat on the lap of someone completely alien and completely familiar. His mother continued to gape as her eyes scanned over pale white skin. Curly golden hair. Eyes like dark blue ice. A pure smile on her face.
"And he gave me what I've always wanted…"
She watched her sit on the futon with her son in her lap and hug him close. Rufus was smiling (she hadn't seen him smile in so long she didn't remember he could oh how happy he looked), smiling, smiling so bright as he hugged the woman around the middle.
It was herself.
"…a real, loving mother!"
Her hands crept up to her face and covered her mouth as she gasped for breath.
Rufus Shinra did not notice his mother crying until much later.
Reno rubbed his nose as the snow continued to fall. "Great… my coat's covered in synthetic blood, and I'm getting a cold!"
Rude carried two sacks under his arms and smiled lightly at his friend. Reno sneezed again, a slight smile on his face.
"Stupid warm fuzzy feeling… bah humbug!"
a/n: See – no one cried. None of the ones in this book are truly heartwrenching like "A Nameless Doll", so it's okay! You can read this without breaking into tears!
Yes, for all you crying "Plagirist!" or however you spell the word, it seems that I am intent on doing this until someone blabs and I get shot bydisguised lawn gnomes. Quite frankly, I no longer care. I love this site. I love fanfiction and I love people who put down time to write things like this that will never see the light of an editor's lamp, and I love readers. If someone really has a problem with this fic, then blab and thy lawn gnomes will descendeth upon my worthless hide. That's okay. The only problem I will have is failing to advertise this beautiful book. I hope you enjoyed reading this even if you don't review.
(Of course, that whole spiel doesn't mean that I really FEEL like getting shot by gnomes or otherwise...)
At this point, it is so cold in my basement that flames will no longer go towards powering my PS2, but instead to warming my dying feet. I had to go and hire a new little man to power my PS2, because I did some research… and it turns out he doesn't have any aunts! Can you believe that little bastard?! He only has uncles!
Merry Christmakkahramadevalizaa to all. Oh, and hope you had a nice Winter Solstice.