Disclaimer:Final Fantasy VII and all associated materials are property of Square-Enix.

Cross Out My Eyes
By: Nanaki BH

Reno pressed his palm to the wound at his side, blood gushing between his fingers. The sensation of nausea swept over him and he closed his eyes tightly, trying to will it away, trying to convince himself that he was really anywhere other than where he was. His throat felt dry and torn from breathing so harshly as he ran. His feet didn't want to carry him anymore. But he had to keep going. His will to live was far too strong to just give in.

Things were beginning to blur, though. His vision was starting to go. He forced himself to just run faster. Faster. The warm blood that oozed from beneath his hand reminded him why he should be a little more careful. That was difficult to do while avoiding his "fellow" gang members, though. They were like the hounds at his heels, nipping and barking, forming an abyss should he decide to turn around. His legs were cramping but he kept going, pushing them until he couldn't feel them at all, and felt as though he was running faster than light, than sound, than the reality around him.

He saw a light and ran toward it until it enveloped him entirely and he blacked out.

When his awareness returned to him, he knew he wasn't running. He had been thrown into a dead stop. His first instinct was to move, to run, to get away. He flailed and thrashed, his legs moving as to run but finding no traction beneath his feet; only air. He snapped open his eyes and his vision unexpectedly met with a cold stare hidden behind dark shades.

The man backed away and straightened his tie in a very formal manner. Although his actions and presence seemed gentle, he had the girth of a gorilla; a large bald man practically built to be a bouncer. Reno instantly recognized the way he was dressed and it finally made sense why he couldn't hear the mob of angry gang members anymore.

He scrambled to his feet and tried to step back. His legs remembered what hell he had previously put them through and crumbled, bringing him right back to where he started. The hole in his side screamed with searing pain and he let himself collapse against the dusty sidewalk again.

"Who are you?" he muttered hoarsely, breathing hard into the ground. "What do you want with me?"

The man in the shades remained stationary and replied in a very cool tone. "I am Rude, although my name is of no consequence. I'm to bring you back to our boss at headquarters. If you would please cooperate quietly..."

"Quietly?" he raged fists curling, teeth clenching. "You want me to go from bad to worse willingly? Why the fuck would I ever..."

"You were trying to escape, correct?"

Reno tensed, feeling somewhat embarrassed about his botched attempt to leave the gang. Being saved was not what he had planned on... It was welcomed, but truthfully, he had intended to go down fighting if he really had to. "Yeah..." he muttered through pursed lips.

"He's prepared to protect you. Our boss, that is."

"Protect me? There's a catch then, isn't there? No yakuza boss would protect somebody for free."

A smile slowly crept across Rude's tan face. That was answer enough. Part of Reno almost didn't want to hear what the catch would be. All he wanted to do was escape safely and maybe move to Kalm if he could. He wanted to break away from the destructive life he was leading before he would wind up dead. He didn't intend to ally himself with the yakuza. They were even worse than the gang. They had a better code of honor and better living arrangements, but becoming yakuza meant to kill to exist. His life was worth little to anyone living in the slums of Midgar. One wrong step and they would be sure he wouldn't get away.

"Should I assume that... you won't let me turn you down, huh? But... Can I ask?"

"What do you want to know?" he asked tersely.

Reno breathed shallowly, afraid to even touch his bullet wound but he forced himself to stand. His consciousness was slipping again and his brain felt like it was on fire. "Why do you people even need me? Why does your boss want me?" His muscles were aching and on the verge of finally giving up. All he knew was that he couldn't run anymore. Running would be a futile effort... and would probably kill him with the exertion anyway. "Why can't I just leave? Why can't anyone just leave me the fuck alone now?"

He could feel Rude moving closer rather than see him and soon felt himself collected in his strong arms, holding him up when he hadn't even realized he was falling.

"Our boss has some very particular tastes and he seems especially interested in you. I think it's your strong will to live. But we'll need you if we're to eradicate that gang. We need you."

As he slowly lost himself to the darkness behind his eyelids, he felt something calm him, like a gentle kiss to his nerves. The promise of protection from a man he had never met was enough for him in the end, in a world where he was left with little else.

How strangely kind, he thought. Are things really... finally working in my favor? No. Can't be.

Author's Notes: I really, really had to write something before my claim decided to die on me or something. So here's my submission for #17 kHz for 30kisses on Livejournal. I always wanted to write something gang/yakuza AU themed for the Turks. There will certainly be more chapters. Hopefully it'll turn into something worth reading. Heh... Hope you enjoyed reading! Stay tuned for future chapters!