A Facade of Glass
To my readers,
After some thought I'm going to start the game novelization... there might be a few breaks as I play the game to do research and brain storm... but that's the way of fanfic I suppose. As always, pleasant reading. In the opening chapter I introduce (for those who haven't read my other works) Rufus... and a few of the Turks.
Glasses chinked and rattled. The small, fussy, cups more sited to hold tea than strong drink clinked musically. The meeting of glasses was a one note symphony that rattled and tinkled as they tapped rim against rim. Shot glass of whisky, and elegant edge of a wine cup, the porcelain rim that held sake. Touch and go, then silence fell, then silence in turn was felled.
"A toast, gentlemen, to AVALANCHE. May they drive the Fat Man to greater deprivations and acts of stupidity."
Liquor went down the hatch where it burned and soothed. Like silk it smoothed, like morasses is stuck, and with a fire of liquid intensity and tenacity it scorched. They were all veterans here, no rookies allowed to this quiet, private, celebration, and as veterans of their favorite poison they endured. Despite the burning and swallowing not one cough or wince broke the moment.
All the better for that moment to be savored.
It was an odd assortment that had jammed itself into a stark, empty, office: one half of a partnership, an heir, and a leader amongst killers. Yet rank and experience was cast aside for this one moment.
Amongst them, serving as coasters and placemats were the most secret of secrets, at least those given voice within script. There were other secrets, darker, deeper, secrets that dared not be set in type. But for those... well for those there were other days for ferreting out information.
Helping himself to another glass, not bothering to even put it "on the rocks", Rude took his second drink of the night in one go. On the other end of the spectrum Tseng stood... at least metaphorically, as a shining example of anti-boozing. Both Turks sat shoulder to shoulder, but in manner and motion, everything was reversed. From pouring, to downing, interest and observation prevailed as the second drink went down in tantalizing little sips. Helping himself to another glass, Rude hit his third in a few moments, his superior -with a condescending smirk- set his cup so it was to the side.
"One of us should remain sober." He replied to the unspoken query that came from across the table.
Amused, Rufus Shinra, heir to the Shinra Electric Company and primary engineer of the current Presidents' downfall, met the Turk's smirk with one of his own. Then, taking a bit from column A and column B, the heir poured and watched his drink settle with appreciation before emptying it in one go.
Slanted, black, eyes thinned in distaste. Forgoing a full grimace, the Wutia Turk settled for a half hearted glare. Meeting the glare with a smirk, Vice President considered his Turk.
"If I were a betting man I would give them a week." Running a hand through his blond hair the Shinra continued to smirk, though he broke the test of wills by shifting his gaze. He spoke in a merry tone, as if it weren't his company that would burn if "they" acted. When silence became weighty the Shinra acquired the hobby of studying what lay beyond a non-existent window. Pursuing imaginary scenery with that "the world be damned" smirk that infuriated his father's associates -to say nothing of the homicidal fury it inspired in the fat man himself- Rufus Shinra seemed oblivious to the world at large.
The young man was an odd image, filled and surrounded by contradiction and chaos being near him felt like being near the edge of a storm. His room of choice was stark that said nothing over the material power he wielded; it matched his clothing choice that was monochromatic, simple, yet finely made. His back was stiff, even as his legs lazily sprawled under the confines of his desk. While he wore no honors or medals or gaudiness to indicate his station there was power in those eyes. Power, and a certain cold toughness that was compliments of being all but raised by the Turks. If eyes were the windows of the soul than the young man's gaze was forever shuttered and sealed with ice. Rufus was a wonder of his own people, upon reaching adolescence -by Midgarian standards- he laid claim not only to twenty and one years of life but a position of pure power and heady responsibility. Yet, instead of a cocksure manner appropriate to his station and age he was reserved, quiet, withdrawn among his associates. Exercising his power in small ways, the heir seemed content to control things from behind the scenes.
Earlier that evening there had been two rituals... One was a forum to acknowledge his ascendance as Vice President, the other a plodding ceremony to say that he was worth to be an adult due to intellectual accomplishment. Both ceremonies had been punctual, proper, and utterly false. Upon cutting free from the mass of humanity entitled by one he'd been escorted to the other. Then, social obligation obliged the heir had disappeared, taking the familiar paths up a poorly illuminated stairway at a dignified trot. He'd started the walk alone, even managed to hike up three floors before being intercepted by his guard. Once intercepted he'd been escorted for the rest of the walk, and upon finding sanctuary he'd found two Turks at ease in his private office.
From farce to present, from pomp to truth...
The sight of two Turks in an office, armed to the teeth, and -as always- wrapped in an aura of somber stillness would have triggered nightmares in any Shinra associate but this one. No nightmares were needed, no threats exchanged, only nods of greeting. Staple changing from confection to meat, Rufus was amused and amazed that his request given that morning over the phone had seen completion. Such bloody bitter fruit had been harvested, but like meat, truth didn't come cheaply.
"As always, I appreciate your efforts, their promptness, and thoroughness." Rufus had confided, setting the most sensitive of the papers within their folder.
"And thoughtfulness," Rude had chimed in.
On eyebrow rose to convey surprise, but only amusement flavored his tone.
"Your poison, Mr. President," Thin lips curling into a smile too warm for that face. It seemed as if the face that held the gesture. Pride warmed slanted eyes might melt under such undue warmth, and as if fearing that fate all undue expression faded into a placid mask. "-is Crimson Canyon, I believe?"
"Why yes, Mr. Turk." Lips curling with real warmth, the Vice President smiled. "it is."
Skin too dark to betray a flush yet to light to be true ebony, the lesser Turk bared white teeth in a approximation of a smile. "And for those of us with less sophisticated tastes... there's whisky, rum, and booze."
"And sake," The slant eyed Turk added with a lean grin. "Which is of course, the most sophisticated drink of all."
"Whatever Tseng," Rufus chuckled. "Just pass me a glass already."