A/N- totally shameless fluff, but it's tselena fluff so it can't be that bad, right:-D

Elena sighed, feeling about unhappy as she ever had since becoming a Turk. Nothing, it seemed, was going well at the moment. Reno teased her mercilessly; Rude never spoke a word to her; she kept messing up on missions, blurting out information due to nerves. Worst of all, Tseng saw her as a girl, silly and giggly and too talkative. No matter how hard she tried to impress him, it never seemed to be enough. If anything, the harder she tried, the colder he got. He was harsher to her than he was to Reno, who was basically a total idiot! Elena had handed in one report that wasn't too great and he yelled at her for a horrible fifteen minutes, but when Reno let a pigeon loose in his office he just sighed and calmly asked Rude to find a net of some description.

'What am I doing wrong?' she said aloud, in despair. God, how embarassing, there were tears in her eyes. Reno's words echoed in her ears- 'Don't act so weak Elena.'A sob escaped. She was weak, and she talked too much, and she would never be as good a Turk as her older sister. She began to cry, laying her face against her arms.

A soft voice came from behind her. 'Elena?' Tseng was standing in the doorway of her office, watching her curiously.

She sat up, quickly, trying to wipe her eyes. 'Tseng, sir, I...'

'Are you okay?' he asked, voice surprisingly soft.

She swallowed hard. 'I'm fine, sir. I'm sorry, I'm just tired.'

He nodded, but there was a hint of doubt in his eyes. 'Has Reno done something to you?'

She sniffed. 'He put tabasco in my coffee this morning, but that's nothing new.'

Tseng rolled his eyes. 'One of these days, you and I are going to pay Reno back for all the little pranks he's pulled on us.'

Elena smiled slightly, but inside she felt sad. As if you'd wanna spend anymore time with me than you have to.

It took a second for her to realise she'd spoken out loud. She clapped a hand to her mouth. 'Oh, sir, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to say that!'

Tseng was frowning. 'Elena... Have I upset you in some way?'

She bit her lip. 'I... I sometimes think you really don't like me,' she said, in a tiny voice.

He was silent for a moment, staring at her. She squirmed under his scrutiny, dreading what he would say to her. Finally, he spoke.

'Elena, I do like you. Very much.' He sounded completely sincere.

She looked at him in surprise. 'You do?'

He nodded, looking troubled. 'Look, Elena, there are... certain rules that we must abide by here.'

She didn't follow him. 'Rules?'

'Yeah... rules. There are,' he paused, thinking hard. 'Some relationships, within Shinra, and especially within the Turks, that have to remain purely proffessional. If there's any, uh, emotion involved, then... things can become difficult.'

As it her imagination, or did Tseng seem a little flustered? 'Sir, I don't understand. Do you mean we shouldn't be friends? Reno and Rude are friends, and you get on with both of them as well. I just...' she trailed off. 'I just want to be your friend,' she finished, pathetically.

Tseng smiled at her, and came right into the office. 'Elena, you're a wonderful person you know.' For some reason, he was saying this as though it was a bad thing. He sat on the edge of her desk. Despite her embarassment, she was acutely aware of their close proximity, of the slight scent of woodsmoke and spice that seemed to cling to Tseng.

'Reno says I'm weak, and ditzy,' she mumbled. 'You always seem to think that too.'

Tseng put his hand on her shoulder, squeezing it a little. 'I don't think that at all,' he said gently. He sighed. 'And that's the problem.'

She looked at him, quizzically. He smiled, almost sheepishly. 'Elena, I think you're beautiful, and sweet, and the most wonderful woman I've ever met.'

She breathed in sharply, stunned at his words. What was Tseng saying? That he had feelings for her too?

'You've no idea how difficult I find it to be around you,' he admitted. 'I get so distracted by you, by your hair, and your eyes...' He sighed heavily. 'But you're a rookie,' he said, almost to himself. Looking at her, he said 'I have to force myself to be hard on you, to treat you as though I don't like you. You're a rookie Elena. My subordinate. If the President or Heidegger thought I was in a relationship with my rookie, they'd probably fire you within a second.'

Elena was still reeling from the revelation that Tseng liked her. He liked her! Her heart was pounding like gunfire. She gazed up at him. 'Tseng...'

He bent down and kissed her, very softly. She closed her eyes, unable to quite believe that Tseng was kissing her.

'Elena,' he pulled back suddenly. She could see him reverting to his usual cold self, and she was powerless to stop it. She stared at him, longingly. 'We can't,' he said, stiffly.

Almost silently, she whispered 'I know.' She tried to keep the tears in, but she couldn't stop a few that ran down her cheek.

Tseng bit down hard on his lip, watching the lovely young woman cry, wanting nothing more than to hold her, than to kiss her again. She was trying very hard to calm herself, he could tell. He took a deep breath. 'Elena, stop crying,' he said, his voice cruel and emotionless. Anyone who heard him would have thought he had no attachment to the girl whatsoever. A smile spread over his face.

Her head snapped up, distress evident. 'S,sorry,' she stammered.

'I'm not,' he said, grinning.

Her shoulders slumped in confusion and misery. Why was he playing with her like this? 'Oh,' she said in a tiny voice.

'I figure if I can still talk to you like that after that kiss, then we're gonna be alright.'

She looked at him strangely, though there was a glimmer of hope in her eyes. 'Sir?'

'Are you busy tonight, Elena?'

She blinked, not quite understanding. 'Um, no?'

He smiled. 'Would you let me cook you dinner?'

A shy grin spread across her face. 'Really, Tseng?'

He nodded, leaning over and kissing her. 'Yes.' He brushed his lips over her neck, smiling as she gasped. 'You know we'll have to keep this completely hidden from everyone else.'

She nodded. 'Oh, of course,' she said, fervently, tipping her head up to be kissed.

'You know I'll have to be very mean to you at work,' he said, kissing her again.

'Mmm,' she breathed, his lips on hers rendering her speechless.

He brushed a lock of blonde hair from her face, smiling happily at the joy on her face. 'But...' he grinned, fingers trailing across her collarbone. 'I'll be very, very nice to you the rest of the time, so you'll know I only hate you at work.'