Author's Notes: This was a gift fic for my 1000 hit kiriban on y!gallery. All those hits in one week. I can't believe it even now. Well, I wrote what I was told and it turned out pretty good if you ask me.


Balcony

He'd learned early on that there was only one thing you could be sure about in Midgar. It wasn't the price of mako, or the gouging of Shin-Ra, or the danger you were in when you faced a Turk. The one and only thing that never ever changed, that a person could be sure of, was that it didn't rain in Midgar. Only months after he'd made it onto the plates as a Turk he'd gone out of his way to ask Hojo about it. The scientist had blown him off of course, and used lots of huge words that really didn't answer his question. In the end he'd gone to Reeve, and the executive had told him something he hadn't expected to hear. Reeve said it didn't rain because it couldn't anymore. Because the planet didn't want them there, wanted them to stop. He didn't know what to think personally.

Still, it never rained in Midgar, and Reno didn't really miss the rain either. He'd been in it several times on missions out of town. They made his suit wet, he'd gotten sick, and even his naturally spiky hair could not resist the weight of the water. It was half the reason he wore goggles out of town instead of the sunglasses he would steal from Rude.

Because it never rained he wasn't afraid of heading out on one of the rare balconies for a smoke. If there was a night he need a smoke more than he needed one now he hadn't lived it yet. The cigarette that had been perched on his ear all day, waiting for this moment, was finally brought to his lips. For a few moments he stood there, looking down at the city from the balcony on the 60th floor. Far below he could see the streetlights in front of the building. There was a story there too. There was always a story. They'd been arranged so that from the President's balcony you could see them form the Shin-Ra logo.

Rude had told him that story. Reno almost cursed himself for thinking about that. Quickly his hands were fumbling about, searching in vain for his lighter. He'd leant it to Rude, just before… After another few seconds he abandoned the search and instead plucked his fire materia from the bangle he wore. Had the damn thing for years now. A gift for Reno from Rude after Reno had burnt down the entire building their first mission was supposed to take place in. He'd set fire to Rude's tie within five minutes of getting the damn materia. He hadn't been all that great with magic back then…

Now it was a simple matter to send just the littlest bit of energy in the green orb cupped in his hand. He'd gotten good with doing this, and the spell, not even half the power of the basic offensive spell, lit the cigarette just as well as any lighter would. They'd done it once or twice on missions. Using materia minimized the glow of the flames used to light up, so they were less noticeable. There was some saying about never lighting two cigarettes with the same match or something. Not that he was superstitious.

He took a long drag on the thing, breathing in the smell and the taste and the smoke. It was one of those small things that was a comfort in daily life. The nicotine calmed his nerves. Damned if he didn't need them calmed, all things considered. Before he knew it though, the smoke was gone and he was left with no other way to stall. That was what it all was after all. One major stalling method.

Finally he broke. The time had come. The butt was tossed from the balcony, soon followed by a pair of sunglasses. They weren't his of course. But they fell just the same. Down, down, down. He couldn't even hear it breaking when it hit the cement. Not that he needed to really. It was a familiar sound. He'd probably caused the destruction of thirty pairs like it a month. But he wouldn't get to break another of them. Those shades were custom made for his partner. They were beautiful shades. The kind with the mirror like front, so when you tried to look past them into Rude's dark eyes, all you could see was your own. But, they would never protect those browns again. One of its brother pairs was with Rude. That one that fell had been the last outside of that simple pine box that would never see the light of day again.

After a moment the small green orb was dropped after the glasses. For some reason he didn't want it anymore.