Title: When Rude Met Reno
Authoress: Vitalini
Rating: T
Summary: Its not easy being a Turk, but what does it take to become one? While Rude is discovering what it really means to be a Turk, Tseng finally thinks he's found a way to calm a certain redheaded devil causing havoc in the Turk department. Join Rude and many new faces as they come to face the reality that is ShinRa.

Warning: Violence and language if there is anything else I'll warn you about when it comes.

Disclaimer: I only own any original characters and the fic- obviously, apart from that I own naught

Author's note: This was inspired by a better and possibly more entertaining story, by NarcissisticRiceBall called Stability. It's fantastic, the plot is really good, so I thought I'd do a story like it but mines kinda ended up different, however there are notable similarities. I'm like that I go round and if I find something I like I want to try it too! Please don't be mad at me!

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"I can't wait until we actually graduate."

The small group assembled in the trainee's lounge in ShinRa's 'Investigation Division of the General Affairs Department of the ShinRa Electric Power Company', better known as the Turk department.

The man who'd spoken had broken the silence that, until then, had been almost complete since the collect group of trainees had entered. Only the systematic rhythm of pencil scratching on paper and the odd sound as pages were turned had been heard.

His comment brought general agreement. For the past few days, they had had nothing but examinations. After surviving (and in many cases, barely) the weapons tests, a good half had already been eliminated from their group. Those who failed in any examination were immediately sent back to restart their Turk training. A select few were picked once a year to carry out the final tests, which would see the end of their trainee years and the start of their Turk career. If they had thought the training was bad, then the exams were gruelling, and many began to worry what it really involved to be a Turk.

They were currently preparing for their final two written exams. They were so close to the finishing line now that they desperately revised every bit of knowledge they might be tested on. They knew it fairly well, but it was one of those just-to-make-sure last-minute things - after all, they could be asked anything of what they'd learnt over the past few years. The next exam would be the ninth of the ten written papers they had to take. Becoming a Turk was definitely far from easy. It was not surprising that even Rookies were so highly skilled.

Now that many had been weeded out, there were only twenty left - a fair size. They'd been informed that they had been 'a promising batch', but even so many had been trying for years.

Thinking this, Rude glanced to his left. Sure enough, his 'new friend' was scribbling away furiously, absorbing as much last-minute information as possible. He was the oldest trainee in the room and it was his fifth try at it. Already 29, many declared him too old to be still trying. Rude had to admit, he would pass the man on determination alone. Rude had never been the one for conversation and he rarely spoke out or voiced his views. His lack of opinion was what attracted his now permanent companion since they had started the two-month long exams.

The man referred to himself as Jim – short, simple, and easy to say. Apparently he'd had a much longer and harder to pronounce title, but had dropped it completely. He had chosen Jim because he'd liked it. Rude on the other hand had just shortened his name and left it at that. Jim was pleasant enough and he was good company. They'd become an unofficial duo from the start. As more people were eliminated, the average and less confident individuals gravitated towards them. Now they made up a group of five. Rude proved to be the most talented, but least vocal.

Currently the team was situated on the table farthest from everyone else, at the back. They were mismatched and less confident then everyone else, so they'd been dubbed the 'leftovers'. The name had stuck, particularly since there was an ounce of truth in it. Many of their 'members' were those that scraped through by the skin of their teeth. They all previously been part of other groups or pairs, and once their comrades had failed, they were the leftovers.

They were leftovers in another sense; they were the bottom, the last referred to, and were generally treated as the rubbish of the remaining trainees. Rude did not mind this - it meant less people he had to communicate with. He did not mind listening, but like he said, conversation wasn't his best known trait and he had to admit he'd never been too comfortable around people.

Needless to say, he fitted in with the 'leftovers' who all had some off quirk about them. In his case, it was his almost permanent silence. In Jim's case, it was his age. Their only female member, Tabitha, shortened to Tabby, was lacking in the aggression and confidence department big time. Then there was John, the younger and less-achieved brother of Marko. There was a lot of resentment between the two, and as Marko had become one of the most achieved, John was instantly sent to the 'bottom'. At least he thought so; however along with Rude he was the most talented on the table. Finally, that left Tracker, gifted with the coolest name but the least talent. They were all nice enough, humbled by their poor achievements; still, they came across pretty plain, and Rude couldn't help but wonder who'd be eliminated next.

Together, they'd coped with the last two missions as a successful team - however that was part of the reason they'd scored so low. While everyone else generally looked after their own backs, the 'leftovers' had made a silent pact without even realising it. As a result, they'd helped each other out in sacrifice of their own gain, and Rude in particular had felt the sting of missing a place in the top three when he'd tried to help Tabby during their weapons exam. He'd missed several targets, while advising and even adjusting her gun more than once to help her aim.

He hadn't minded losing his second place status for that one exam - he knew what he could and couldn't do. That was why he was the only one not furiously flipping through books but observing the room silently.

"You're creepy when you do that." Jim pointed out. Rude only just realised he was still staring at him.

"All participants of Exam 20179 please make you way to the Academy Hall of Tuition."

There was a collective groan as everyone put down his or her books and pencils. If anything, this would be the most testing since they no longer had the slight assurance that their comrades may help them out, they had to rely on themselves.

Marching to the Hall of Tuition was an accomplished in absolute silence. Entering the large lecture hall brought back memories of his first lecture. Somehow, Rude found renewed conviction and confidence in himself.

A Turk, stood in the centre, the desks all around him, raising up like that of a Roman Coliseum. It was the same Turk that had observed them during every exam, but Rude was never close enough to make out his features clearly; he was well built like Rude, most probably shorter since few could look him in the eye unless they craned their necks. He had long shoulder length hair, that appeared messy even from a distance and he was obviously well tanned from fieldwork. After locating his own desk, Rude quickly sat down, eager to get this over with, and tabbed his fingers impatiently on his knee as the formal instructions were read- no that they hadn't heard them nine times already.

Finally they were allowed to start. They booklet was thick and Rude steamrolled through it, confidently pouring out answers onto the paper. Still, even at his fast pace he only just managed to finish the test in time. Wrist aching he noted that each test was longer then the last and the questions harder and more complicated not to mention the time to complete each test decreased by ten minutes each time.

To everyone's surprise, they were not dismissed. Instead, a slim woman in a plain business suit and large glasses that accented her dull gray eyes brought round the final test. Rude recognised her as one of the receptionists. He sighed, massaging his sour limb. He did not even have time to worry about how well he'd done on the last test.

"The rules are the same, however you have just an hour to complete the test….begin now"

Twenty pages were flipped over and the furious noise of pencil zooming across the pages echoed in the rather empty hall. It was like a marathon, they were all sprinting. sweat collected on his brow, but he ignored all discomforts, desperate to finish. He noticed that the questions weren't that difficult and though there was no doubt a lot of them were fairly straightforward. At least he thought so.

Sixteen hours later, 5:30 a.m. the following morning, an exhausted and horrified group of trainees had gathered in the training area. They had been summoned an hour ago and none were happy. Four horrible exams in a row had been bad enough, top that with less that six hours sleep and you got an army of zombies. Rude made a good show to appear as neat and as unaffected as he always did, but he felt the same as everybody else.

The horrified part had only been a recent reaction and it was the liveliest facial expressional any had managed to pull this far. Rude meanwhile squinted up at the screen, his sensitive bright brown eyes suffering under the plasma glow. He felt his heart plummet. He was top of the group. Scoring the highest in every test, however despite his exceptionally high result on the first test, with 76 all the rest barely made it to 50 the lowest being the second writing exam, which he'd only managed 23. The other two had been technology based, one was to make a bomb and disable another, the final test had been to hack into a computer system and obtain the needed documents within a set time limit. Both of which he'd scored fairly high on, though he'd failed to disarm the bomb in time so only scored 50 on that test, the other just 48. The four totals had been average to give him 49.3, which did not seem too bad.

"Why are they different colours?" John asked.

Rude noticed this, his name was at the top, coloured green, the six at the bottom were coloured red, and Tracker was in this group. Everyone else was yellow. Rude had some ideas about the red ones but didn't want to say anything.

Before anyone else could answer his question, the messy haired Turk whom they had come to recognise as their examiner entered the facility, a clipboard in his hand. Quickly they stood to attention.

"Sir!"

He glanced at them and began flicking thought the papers. Stopping when he found what he was looking for, then turned to the screen, and then back at the trainees.

"Sarah, Kon, Frank, Roc, Kim and Tracker, you are dismissed. Return to the academy where your training will start again."

That was that, with out a word, the six people turned and exited, Tracker gave a sad smile to his fellow 'leftovers' before disappearing behind the door.

"Rude." The instructor barked, once they had all gone.

"Sir"

"Congratulations you've made it to the record board." Rude wasn't the only one confused by this statement however it became clear what the Turk meant. The screen changed and a new table showed. This one only had five names printed on it, arranged in date order, thus Rude was at the bottom.

Everyone gasped, "Holy…" Jim started. Rude silently completed the oath, taking in the name just above his, Reno. Whoever that was had managed to score 89, no one else had gotten anywhere near as high.

Involuntarily, Rude found himself creating a mental imagine of what this Reno would look like. He couldn't help but think of a typical dull computer nerd, with big thick glasses, sleek well kept hair, smart suit and stern face. One of those annoying know-it-alls, and he suddenly decided that he most probably would not like the man or maybe even a woman if he met them.

The Turk let them gawp for moment before clearing his throat and bringing their attention back to him.

"Well, as you all may have gathered those last tests were more difficult," understatement of the year, "If you managed to score thirty or above you passed, this was the last elimination exam. The final three, are the most important, you shall be tested on everything you know and should know as a Turk. You should have little trouble with them. They will make up part of your final report to be given to the Commander before your initiation mission. You are dismissed." With that, he turned and left.

Immediately, the remaining 'leftovers' rushed over to Rude, as had become custom, before exiting after everyone else.

"Poor Tracker-" Tabby started, he big hazel eyes were understandably welled up, everyone knew how the two had grown particularly close.

Jim on the other hand, was buzzing with excitement. You could not really blame him, after years of trying he was just three exams and a mission away from becoming a Turk. Just like the rest of them, only they hadn't tried as often.

John was looking at Rude with admiring eyes, something he always did when the tall bald Trainee showed up his brother. "Those were ridiculously hard tests, huh?"

"Yes"

"Still that was an impressive score…" and that just started everyone else off, as they, all wanted their congratulations to be heard to. A few hours later, they were sitting in the canteen. The discussion had shifted, as they ate, what would hopefully be the start of their final, canteen meals.

Tabby swept a stray strand of mousy shoulder length hair back over her shoulder, saying as she did, "so what do you think of that Reno guy?"

"What do you mean, we haven't met him?" John pointed out, shovelling down his mashed potato; he still went by the philosophy that the faster you ate the less you'd taste.

"ewwww, don't speak with your mouth full!"

"'orry" John spluttered, and then swallowed, "we've only seen his name on a board."

"So, do you think we'll meet him?" Tabby continued, "He must be super smart!"

"If he's not dead then probably," Jim joined in, "Or if Hojo hasn't done experiments on him."

"Hojo?" the three younger trainees's chorused, receiving a shocked stare from their comrade.

"You've never heard of him!" he looked incredulous, "…Well I don't know much myself, but from what I've gathered if you see him coming you walk in the opposite direction and fast. He's one crazy scientist and loves experimenting-"

"don't all Scientists" John cut in.

"-on humans!" Jim finished eyes wide in a melodramatic fashion. Causing John to laugh,

"Very scary. Jeez you almost had me believing you!"

"What do you mean by that?" Jim snapped indignantly.

"Sorry, but no way would anybody allow that to happen. You sounded like my granddad when he used to tell ghost stories." John had raised his hands defence against Jim's death glare.

"Still, back to the point, what do you think this Reno would be like?" Tabby pressed.

"Why so interested?"

"I just am, he must be something special." Tabby paused, "to get such a high score I mean doesn't that merit some curiosity."

"Nah!" John shrugged, "Sounds like a right bore to me, a bookworm or something. I doubt he'd be into field work, I mean that sort of test really what those intelligence guys do, the ones that spend months on one case, just cracking codes and stuff. Like that guy erm… what was his name…"

"Derek?" Tabby offered.

"Yeah, that guy!" Tabby pulled a face, remembering the self-important brainiest who had advanced to Rookie status last year.

"We don't like smart guys do we?" Jim joked.

"No," John agreed happily, "they're either bores or snobs." There was an array of nods to his conclusions, all thinking back to personal experiences.

"Jim" Rude finally realised something, "wouldn't you have seen this Reno at all, since he only graduated over a year or two ago?"

There was a pause; no doubt everyone was getting over the shock of their bald friend saying a sentence longer then a single word. They turned on Jim expectantly.

"Erm… Now that you mention it, I did hear about someone called Reno, never saw him or her though, just rumours but I can't remember for the life of me what they were."

Tabby sighed, obviously disappointed. "Well we'd better get ready for tomorrow."

They cleared away their plates and headed to their dorms. Rude left the small party as he turned left, while Jim and John headed straight on and Tabby went through the doors on the right.

He decided to spend the next few hours revising just in case he may have forgotten something and the evening training. Once in his room, he looked in the mirror, to examine he watery orbs. Keeping the curtains closed in his cramped living space was easier on his eyes. He still thought there was something wrong with them, but despite being slightly too sensitive and delicate the opticians insisted his eyes were in perfect health. True he had perfect vision but that did not stop them hurting in just about any type of light.

True to his plan, Rude revised and then trained. He met Tracker on his way to the gym, he didn't seem the least bit bothered about failing , instead their was a new determination in his eyes and Rude had allowed him to animatedly describe his plan of action for next years tests, however he remembered Tracker doing the same thing last year to.

Finally, he crashed on his bed allowing sleep to claim him, while inside dreading the sound of the alarm clock in the morning. More importantly, dreading what tomorrow would bring.

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So what do you think? More character interaction in the next chapter and were going to meet even more Trainees! No Reno though, but he should come up during the third or fourth chapter. I bet you're wondering about that Mark, Reno got well all should be revealed relatively.

Please feel free to review