The Gemini Project
Content: Sequel to The Dance of the Macabre. Runo: RufusXReno, and the others that existed in DOM. Language, Sex, Alcohol, Violence, Torture, and Cruelty. Should be rated MA+ for content that may be considered disturbing to sensitive individuals, and the dark undertone in which I write.
Head-Note: There isn't necessarily a reason to read The Dance of the Macabre. But I will not take responsibility for any confusion and possible brain damage caused by attempting to bypass that ridiculously long prelude full of insanity and twisted plot-lines. So, even though I'm not attempting to sell myself shamelessly, it is recommended to read it first… For the sake of the greater good.
Summary: It's been five years since the explosion at the underground Nibelheim Reactor, and as it seems, there is still no rest for those that reside within the walls of Shinra. Only this time, secrets become much harder to keep and deception seems to plummet from unsuspected depths as motives become highly questionable. In a world where nothing's as it seems, one person has lost his memory, and it's up to the other's to try and get him to remember who's side he's really on in hopes that he's on their side and willing to help them. But as it turns out, his lack of memory is the least of their problems.
My Typical Turk-related Warning: I don't view the Turks as people that come from good homes, or people that play with puppy dogs and kittens (they're assassins and kidnappers. Play the game for the first time, or again if you don't believe me). Regardless of how adorable Reno is to some, he simply isn't the type of person who is a good person or comes from a good place, even though he does have a soft side. Let's all remember that he single-handedly dropped the plate on Sector 7, shall we? I feel this to be a fair warning to people that expect to see him as a playful good guy. He works for Rufus Shinra for Pete's Sake (once again, I'll refer to the game)! AND he enjoys it! What else would you expect of him? Read on at your own risk.
Disclaimer: All FFVII characters, places, references, etc belong to Square.
This story is my own take on where the characters go after Advent Children and my messed up prequel. Therefore, the imagination is mine. :)
"He's not stabilizing."
Erryn stood in the hallway of the infirmary outside of the redheaded Turk's private room, nervously shifting her weight and swallowing as she regarded the eyes of the slender Wutian who seemed somewhat lost in thought, making her even more nervous by his silence.
"I thought it would pass… But it's like he won't stop shifting between personalities and he won't respond to anything… He's getting worse…"
Still silent, Tseng turned his unfocused attention from Erryn's grey eyes toward the room where the young President was kept under sedation. Concerned over the fact that it had been six days since they discovered the redhead was still alive, only to discover that the fate of his life remained in dire question, he found himself in a position he wasn't particularly fond of.
"The bacteria in his system aren't helping matters either… I've had to increase his dosage to counteract it…"
She knew the Wutian wasn't listening to her, and silently, she kept telling herself to be quiet. But instead, she only wound up talking more, unable to stop her nervous chattering.
"This of course, is causing a problem with the Mako in his system wanting to start working on his injuries… Not to mention that he took a serious blow to the head, and I'm worried that his memory might be affected… Normally, the Mako would fix that, but it seems to be going haywire on him… Because the Jenova is active and it's like they're not getting along but tolerating each other…
"And I have no idea what the hell it's doing… It's like it's just wandering around in him… Like it's looking for something… But the Mako keeps gettin in its way… But that's good because whatever it's doing, it seems to be keeping the Mako from interacting with the dust…"
In fact, she knew so well that Tseng wasn't listening to her, that she wasn't even facing him as she more or less spoke to the wall at the opposite side while she waved her hands around in emphasis of what she was saying.
Maybe she was just saying it out loud to work out a solution in her own head, and the fact that Tseng was standing nearby, helped to make it look like she wasn't some kind of loon talking to herself.
No matter though, she was well aware of the fact that Tseng was more concerned over how Rufus would react when he came out of his own treatment and didn't bother to hold his divided attention against him. After all, at that moment, things seemed like they couldn't possibly be worse.
"All I can say is that he's damn lucky that pyramid protected him from the blast, or there wouldn't even be a particle left of him to clone."
The thought was tempting to Tseng. But he knew better than to entertain it. There'd been enough troubles with such actions in the past and he wasn't about to go there again. However, that wasn't to say that Rufus wouldn't entertain the idea enough to materialize it, given the uncertain mental state he was in and may wind up staying in. The thought made Tseng shudder enough to snap him back over to Erryn's attention with an even more uncertain thought.
Before speaking, he silently cursed under his breath and prayed to his gods that what he was suggesting wasn't going to be a mistake. He knew it was something Rufus had planned on ever since he discovered Reno was ill, but he still wasn't certain it was one of the best ideas the younger man had ever had.
Even more so, he knew damn-well it was something Reno would have never consented to. But like Tseng had said in the past, and would most-likely continue to say… Rufus was his priority. So, with that thought in mind, he hesitantly wiped at his mouth almost like it was his attempt to stop the words from coming out. But they came out nonetheless.
"You said you fixed the stasis chamber designed for Reno… Correct?"
With a stunned look on her face, she swiped a stray lock from her face to place it behind her ear, and locked her eyes with Tseng's in an almost dreadful state of question. "Reno would rather be dead than be in a Cryo-pod… He's terrified of the idea," she said with a quick shake to her head and a mild, disbelieving snicker in hopes that the Wutian was only joking.
Of course, she knew he wasn't, but she'd always known about Reno's unquestionable fear of anything that took his will away from him, even though she never really knew why, and she knew he wouldn't be too happy if he wound up losing years of his life, since that was also something that seemed to be an issue for him.
About the best she could figure from the duration she'd known him when they were younger was that something terribly traumatic had happened to the younger redhead, but she never knew the extent of what it was. Even despite the fact that she knew the other redhead, that had come to be known as Aldrich, dominated him in ways that she didn't even want to know about, she was pretty sure there was more to it.
Perhaps that was what kept her concerned about him despite everything he'd done to her. She wasn't really sure.
"Yes, well I'm not sure how much you know about either of them," Tseng started, and took a sip of the coffee he was holding while working out the best way to say what he was going to say in his head before actually saying it, "But let me just say that I'd rather deal with Reno's temper over the loss of time than Rufus' unpredictable nature over not getting what he wants."
When all Erryn did was stand in front of the man and wander her eyes all over his face like she was attempting to read something, Tseng added with a slight tightness to his throat, "Reno is less-likely to kill the people he cares about without warning."
And then he finished what was left in his cup before discarding it while ordering her to prepare the chamber and have Reno secured within it before the end of the day, knowing it was the only way to force the Turk's body to stabilize, even if it was in a state of non-existence.
All she did in response was nervously gulp as her stomach tightened and she watched the Wutian's back while he walked away from her and entered Rufus' room with not so much as a slight glance in her direction.
Then the terror sunk in when she realized there was nothing else she could have done, and she had no idea where to even start or how she was going to be dealt with if things went any more wrong than they had already gone.
Look at the bright side Erryn…
At least his system would be shut down, forcing the Mako to remain at bay, leaving her to work on the bacteria without any unpredictable interference. With that in mind, all she had to do was focus on a cure, and if Reno had told her the truth about Rufus, then he would most-likely leave her alone if she proved herself worthy enough to keep around.
That's right, Erryn… There's always a bright side.
Of course, she was completely unaware of the events that took place just shortly after the destruction of the underground Mako refinery, and was therefore, completely unaware of how wrong things had already gone.
Six years after the underground Reactor Incident…
… … …
The light was flickering with a merciless constancy, making him dizzy and almost sick as he watched the pinkish water spiral down the drain. It reminded him of things he wished he wasn't thinking of.
Even more so, it seemed to be punishing him for what he'd just done, for the grave mistake he'd possibly made. But was it a mistake? He just didn't know anymore. All he did know was that he hoped against all possible hope that it wasn't a mistake, that he did the right thing.
Oh, Gaia… how he wished he'd done the right thing.
With thoughts no longer suppressed, they were coming out verbally as he muttered away to himself in agonizing reminders while washing the blood off the blade in his hand and himself, refusing to acknowledge what appeared in the mirror before him.
"Ya told me it'd be okay…" he muttered in a voice riddled with agony, and grimaced at the dull pain in his gut while grasping his arm over the wound, "He said we'd work it out… everythin'd be fine…
"YA FUCKIN LIED TA ME!"
With a violent throw, the balanced knife wound up in the closed door behind him, and with a cry from somewhere deep within, he fell to the floor from a sudden wave of exhaustion. With the blood streaked behind him on the counter of the sink as he slid down it, he sat there, silent, with his legs listlessly spread out in front of him, staring at the door and dreading what was on the other side.
Nothing ever went as planned, he thought. Nothing ever worked out the way he wanted it to, and nothing ever allowed him one moment's peace. How he hated the thought of what his life had become, and how he hated the fact that he once thought he could change things only to find out that he was never the one in control. He was nothing but a useless servant to everyone else's desires and whims, and he never stood a chance.
Yeah… He knew what his purpose in life was… He'd come to figure it out, and decided that he knew it well…
He was a tool.
Nothing but a fucking tool for everyone else to use and to constantly manipulate… That's what he was; he was sure of it.
If there was ever a reason for him to hate the God's that made his existence plausible, he figured the reason was simply due to the fact that his pointless life existed, and he never hated them more. Everything in his life seemed like it only went direly wrong. Everything went considerably wrong… particularly after…
"Fuckin five years…" he muttered quietly, suddenly calm, but in a spent way. Five years of his life was lost to him. Five years of everything that happened around him was gone. For five years, he spent his time agelessly in a stasis pod, doing nothing but lose time. Like a test subject, he felt, and he wondered if it would ever end. Was that his prime purpose in life? To be studied and played with? Picked at and toyed with?
"Five years…" he quietly repeated again, and then he pushed himself up with a new source of energy and bellowed out while holding his hand over his gut, "YOU STOLE MY FUCKING LIFE!"
But there wasn't really anyone there to be yelling at and he wasn't really sure exactly who he was angry with, because he wasn't really sure what the hell was going on anymore. He wasn't even sure of his own judgements and actions. They played with his head… every single one of them…
They all took his reality and turned it into what they wanted it to be, leaving him with no clue over what his reality really was anymore.
Of course, he was telling himself most of this due to the fact that he didn't really know if his conclusions were correct, and passing the blame made his possible mistake easier to deal with. Because it wasn't just them that he couldn't trust; he couldn't trust himself either. They weren't the only ones messing with his head.
With a hopelessly felt reluctance, he turned to the mirror to see that he'd missed a good quantity of the blood smeared on his face, neck, and shirt, and in a fit, he ripped his shirt off and whipped it several times on the counter before throwing it angrily to the corner of the room. Then he stood there, panting and licking his lips like a wild animal, staring at himself, but not really seeing himself.
He wound up going past the image and playing the scenario over in his head again, looking for some sort of assurance. Suddenly nodding to himself as if he'd found the answer he was seeking, or at the very least, he'd convinced himself he'd found it, he tapped the light to try and stop it from flickering. Then he grabbed a Hi-Potion from the cabinet, swallowed it without so much as a thought, and turned the tap back on to quickly wash away the remainder of the blood while the surface of his wound slowly healed from the aid of the Potion.
It would have healed much faster if he had a Cure Materia around, but even then, it was doubtful he'd use it. He'd always been somewhat skittish when it came to any kind of Materia that had healing and reviving qualities, and he had valid reasons for the repulsion. But they weren't very well known to the public.
Once he was done and found some gauze to dress his wound, he ran his hand through the front of his crimson locks that hung loosely in his face and took a deep breath before opening the door to face the nightmare that waited on the other side. He decided he'd ignore it though. He decided he wasn't going to give in to his inner struggles, and he decided that he would have to rectify his actions even though he didn't really know if he could.
Stepping over the lifeless body that was almost blocking the entrance to the bathroom from which the redhead came, he started muttering away to himself. He muttered things like, "Ya had it comin ya sonuvabitch," and, "Should'na been fuckin with my head," while he rummaged through the closet to find a shirt to wear.
All the while, he kept looking at the row of silken white before him and swallowed nervously until he finally rested his hand on one of his own, more blue-toned, shirts and quickly put it on, ignoring the black jackets that were also a part of the uniform he was told he used to wear.
He wasn't a Turk anymore anyway… There would have been no point in sporting the attire. But it didn't stop him from grabbing a pair of the black pants, also hanging in there, and replacing the blood-soiled ones he was wearing with them.
"Ya stupid piece'a shit," he grumbled, as he adjusted his collar and set his eyes on the contorted body lying in a pool of its own blood. Then a lump rose in his throat and he made his best attempt to clear it before instinctively moving toward the lifeless heap that was still wearing a white outfit of unnecessary layers.
Only it wasn't so white anymore.
"Tell me I did'n make a mistake," he quietly said, almost bitterly to some unknown entity that may or may not have been listening while he knelt beside the figure and gently ran his fingers through the golden strands that had become more ashen over the years he'd missed out on.
"Tell me I did the right thing…" he choked in a soft and whiny tone, but he wasn't really sure who he was talking to anymore.
He was trying to reassure himself again, as he leaned closer to peer into the steely-blue eyes that returned no focus. Instead, they looked upward at nothing in particular, and he moved his hand to firmly brush his fingers over them to close the lids and confidentially whispered, "Ya tried ta kill me, ya stupid shit."
However, did he really need to respond the way that he did? Couldn't he have exercised some form of self-control? Surely, he'd become more than capable of defending himself when the need arose.
Did he really need to fatally stab the man, more than once?
They were nothing more than unnecessary questions, and questions seemed to be one of those things that rarely got answered.
But maybe he could try. Maybe he could solve his problems. Then again, maybe he should have been thinking more about leaving the building before the others realized what just happened. With all the thoughts and hopes that ran through his head, he really didn't have the time to wait out an incarceration and try to explain why things went the way they did.
He had more important things to do.
Two hours later…
A stalky-built Wutian sat at his desk in his Kalm-located office, surrounded by his partners and one who worked below him. He was a tall and lean blonde, and he took his place to stand respectively behind his Boss, slightly to the man's left, and slouched against the wall with an amused look on his face as the men filled his Boss in on the information and handed him the recording.
It was a recording of the redhead leaving his and Rufus' apartment. Of course that wasn't what the concern was, nor was there really anything odd about it, at least not at first glance. There was something strange about the way he stopped though, and the way he turned his attention to the cameras that he knew the Wutian had access to.
There was something challenging about the way he tilted his head forward and toothily grinned in a feral manner while a flash of blue danced across his eyes. It could have been everyone's imagination, but it was doubtful. In fact, there was very little doubt that the redhead was letting him know he was coming for him, but why he was on the PHS and still grinning while staring at the camera with solid-blue eyes was confusing, to say the least.
That wasn't exactly the most disturbing thing the Boss had ever seen before though. He'd had his life threatened on several occasions and paid it no mind, and he'd certainly seen stranger things in his days, considering his line of work.
What he did find disturbing though, was when the recording was forwarded and the dead President to the Shinra Electric Power Company was being taken out of his apartment in a body bag. Why did this disturb the man who'd always wanted to take Shinra down though?
It disturbed him because he realized the redhead was the one who made the anonymous call for the MPs to find the deceased Shinra heir.
Perhaps it bothered him because it had something to do with his plans…
Plans that he'd managed to keep a secret for close to thirty years as he sat by, patiently watching and waiting for something to happen so that he could sneak in and take action. Only now, he couldn't. He couldn't because the redhead made damn sure that the Turks and everyone else in the building knew Rufus was dead, making it impossible to pull the strings from behind an invisible curtain anymore.
"Fucking, Renault!" he bellowed out, and slammed his fist onto the surface of his desk.
With a short snicker, the blonde behind him reached into his chest-pocket and pulled out a cigarette, "I told you he couldn't be trusted."
With an unimpressed snort, the Wutian commented on the fact that Renault couldn't even trust himself, never mind the fact that no one else could, while he tapped his ring on the surface of his desk in thought. Then he ran his eyes over the men in the room and let out a heavy sigh to relieve his tension before warning them to be extra careful with the redhead when he showed up.
"He's dangerous and unpredictable," he cautioned, while the blonde behind him snickered carelessly and took a drag from his cigarette.
Ignoring the man behind him, the Wutian continued with his briefing.
"And to top it off, he has the training of a Turk… But," he stressed and glanced sideways in irritation when he heard the blonde push himself away from the wall and come up behind him, "He will be alone… And you'll all stand a better chance if you remain in large groups."
After taking another drag from his cigarette, the blonde placed his hand on the Wutian's shoulder, irritating the man even more, and offered, "Is there anything I can do to help?"
"Don't be a fool, you idiot," the Wutian snapped, and pushed the hand from his shoulder in disapproval of the contact, "We're not just dealing with a damn Turk!"
"Oh, that's right… We're dealing with your most prized possession," the blonde taunted, and snickered again before taking another drag and moving to stand directly behind his boss.
Suddenly reminded of Aldrich's constant antagonistic behaviour, as he often was, he decided to play along with the worthless insubordinate that stood behind him. "Not anymore," he mumbled, and tapped his ring on the desk again, "And you're hardly any match for that psychopath."
Snickering again, the blonde reached over and placed his cigarette in the tray on the desk and then returned to his position while the Wutian continued to address his men in matters of caution. All the while, the man made every attempt to ignore the hands that rested lightly on his shoulders as they started to massage the stress away.
Rolling his eyes at the fact that the menace always picked the worst times to act like a fucking overly-agreeable subservient when he knew damn-well he was nowhere near such a title, the Wutian let out a deep sigh again and made his best attempt to ignore the little shit standing behind him.
Perhaps he underestimated the blonde though, more so than he'd ever underestimated anybody else in his entire life. And perhaps that was the biggest mistake he'd ever made.
Because the moment he went to open his mouth in terms of Reno's stealth and almost ghost-like mannerism when it came to attacking, his words were suddenly cut off by the pressure of his tie being pulled viciously around his neck by one hand as another quickly snaked its way down to grab the gun from his own holster.
Then faster than even the men in front of him could react, the shots were fired with a frightening and fatal accuracy, leaving only the two of them in the room together, alone.
"What… the hell… are you… doing…?" the Wutian gasped out between choked breaths, as the gun was dropped to the floor and both hands were holding the tie more securely around his neck while he was pulled back and out of his chair by the pressure.
"Something that should have been done a long time ago," came the answer that was chillingly controlled and calm.
"You… He'll come… for you… too…" he warned, in an attempt to make the wretched beast see reason and let go.
"I look forward to it," commented the blonde, and pulled the tie even tighter while quickly wrapping it around once more with a determined grip.
After minutes of struggling and choked attempts to get the blonde to release him, he began to grow weak from the lack of oxygen. Then what seemed like minutes more, he finally gave into an unconsciousness that he could no longer fight, and he fell to the floor as the blonde let go and knelt down to casually pick the gun back up and reload it.
"In fact, I believe I'm more than capable of handling Renault," he stated with a strangely positive attitude and pulled the trigger to ensure that his efforts were not done in vain.
That was, of course, before a self-satisfied smile crossed his lips at the thought of what he'd do with Reno once he was reunited with him again.
Revised: August 17, 2010