For Cat. Love you!
Turks like herself were never allowed to cry. Real Turks didn't even know what tears felt like. They were puppets on strings, following orders from sources they never questioned. Eavesdrop, don't question. Steal, don't question. Kill, don't question. And up until today, that life seemed alright. But now….
Cissnei lay in her dorm, hunched over her ShinRa manufactured bunk. Her head lay amid ShinRa commissioned sheets and her body lay slumped on the floor. The rain outside sounded even louder from this position, and wanted it to – fully believing that it was the sky crying in her place.
It all seemed wrong, that everything could have gone so sour. He wasn't supposed to die! Zack was supposed to live, live dammit! So they could spend more company-mandated vacations lounging around on the beach so she could tease him about Aerith and so they could bicker when fighting monsters on Loveless Avenue. Aerith, she thinks, is probably crying for him right now. She's actually allowed to, and Cissnei envies her for that. No, she shouldn't be jealous because poor Aerith probably doesn't even know of his murder. And she - the one who can't cry and scream and punch her pillow and ask why in the hell this happened - does. This stupid company, with its lies and deceptions and hidden secrets.
She knows everything now.
She wonders if she even got to be a normal kid, instead of a ShinRa lapdog, if she would run outside and play and skip and dance in the rain. Cissnei doesn't think, she knows that Zack would have. The two of them are only a few of many children whose lives and innocence and emotions were given away and shackled in chains. She wishes she could be a child again. Maybe she could have stopped her parents from dying and then she could have gone to school, and gone to slumber parties, and danced in the rain whenever she wanted too. If they hadn't died, she wouldn't have been sent to an orphanage and passed along to the Turks. Maybe that little girl is still inside of her somewhere – but she's suffocating under years of Turk training and false smiles and deadly missions. The only things letting her breathe are the friend's she's made. And the air is getting thinner…..
"Yo! Cissnei!" there's a tap at her door, and she knows that he'll let himself in, because he always does - the word "personal bubble" doesn't exist in his mind. Cissnei knows she's right when she hears the muffled footsteps across the ShinRa issued carpet and the smell of explosives mixed with oil and cologne.
"…." She glances up at him, head balanced on her elbows. His flaming hair is soaking wet, and there's tiny drips of rainwater hanging from his shirttails like ornaments on a Christmas tree. Reno's a mess.
"Nice weather." he snides, sitting at the foot of her bed.
"What where you doing out there? It's practically a tornado."
"Lookin' for a good time." Cissnei rolls her eyes and hides her face in her jacket. Reno chuckles. "Tornados. Hm. I'll keep that in mind for next time, mom." He taps his head, playfully teasing her.
It's then that he realizes something's wrong. Usually she would hit him, or stiffen a laugh herself. Cissnei is depressed now. She's in mourning now.
"Zack…" he breathes not loud enough for her to hear, shaking his head.
"He….was a good guy, you know." She looks back up at him.
"He's dead now." Her harsh so-very-Turk-like attitude comes out of nowhere. Reno sighs. She's trying too hard to be strong.
There's a silence in the air almost as thick as the rain outside.
"Why…..are we letting the blanket be pulled over our eyes like this?" she asks, and for once he keeps quiet. "This is happening day after day after day…..And us Turks…..we're killing people, Reno. Our jobs are to kill. If we had any sense of right left in us we would tell everyone what's really going on around here! Aerith….she doesn't even know….." her voice gets small and trails off.
"You should've expected that, 'Nei. It's part of the job. We're Turks, yo. Y'know, like – 'here comes the men in black!'" he chuckles at his own joke, trying to lighten the air a little.
"I didn't know what to expect when they plucked me out of that children's home. I was lost and alone and…I just wanted a family…."
"I think that, if you really look at it, all of us, me and you and everyone else, even Tseng –though he totally has a stick shoved up his ass all the time – we're like…a family….'Cause we always have each other's backs, and we…. " He trails off, shaking his head like a dog, water droplets flying.
"I'm not good at this mushy crap, yo."
Cissnei snorts, her eyes tracing his face intently. The rain on the older man's face could look like tears, except the muddy tracks across his face are in a thousand different directions.
…."Do you think….we would even exist in a world without ShinRa? A kid like me, that young with no one…I think this stupid company is the only reason I'm alive…."
He reached out and ruffled her hair.
"Oy, from a fellow slum rat, the only way to get into the sun and out from under the damn plate is to join something here. I joined the Turks 'cause I wanted freedom, and I guess blowin' the shit out of stuff is a perk. Hey, think about it - in a world without ShinRa, you'd have never met Zack Fair. And he wouldn't have met Aerith or you or Angeal or Clo-"
"In a world without ShinRa, Zack would have lived." Her head is hidden in the crook of her arm.
"Cissnei. I've got an idea." Reno pinches the bridge of his nose. "But you better listen damn well. Sit next to me and I'll tell you, yo."
Their eyes lock for the second time that rainy night. She's wondering if it's something stupid – because it usually is – or if it's something that could save her. Reno – usually the carefree one, the joker, the laid-back slacker, but tonight he was being more of a friend than she could ever ask for.
It's hard to sit up, because her muscles and joints are stiff and creak as she moves. Cissnei brushes of her thighs – white carpet and black pants don't mix– and sits beside him at the foot of her bed, hugging her legs.
"Run. Escape ShinRa. Duhhh."
Her eyes widen, and she opens her mouth to say something, but nothing comes out.
"I'll be killed. Just like Z….." her voice is small again.
"No, you won't." he digs in his pocket and pulls out a key-ring, silver metal glinting in the dim light. To her, it's smallest key stands out most.
"Tseng's personal files…" her left hand raises up instinctually, fingers resting on her bottom lip.
"Mmmhmm. And you know how easy it is for me to just slip inside his office, open the file cabinet and slip MIA paperwork into the files of a Turk named Cissnei." He pauses, thinking his plan over. "No one saw you come back from your last mission, right?"
She shakes her head, clearing away the vivid images on that hill above Midgar. It was raining then, too – running down the ground mixed with his blood.
"No. I'm sure."
"Good. No damage control, then." He lets out a long breath, and drapes one lanky arm around Cissnei's shoulders. She stiffens a little, but doesn't move away.
"Tell me if you ever find real freedom, got it? And you better not get your skinny ass killed, either. Y'know, Zack would kick my ass pretty hard."
She lets in a shaky breathe. For the second time ever, she's really truly scared. "I promise, Reno."
"Live for the people who couldn't. I think he would want that, yo."
"He would." She nods, her voice a whisper, and she finds her shoulders shaking – even with Reno supporting her.
"Hey now, 'Nei!" his loud voice startles her, and he jumps back a little, starting intently at her face. He brings the back of his hand up and touches her face.
"Would'ja look at that." He smirks to himself. "Tears."
She jumps, her hands tracing a slight wetness on her face. It's like everything she thought it would be. Cissnei laughs, more tears running down her cheeks. Reno cracks a small smile, brushing off his knees and standing.
"Alright, you gotta leave soon; don't wanna get caught. Take some clothes and money and that shuriken of yours, too. Never know what sort of freaks you'll find, yo."
She wipes her face across her jacket sleeve, smiling a little crooked smile. "Like you?"
"Aw, now that one hurt! Good to have you back, Cissnei. Now, get out of here!" Reno unhooks her window's latches and it swings open. The rain stopped, and now it's a quiet Midgar night.
Cissnei shrugs on her small knapsack and jumps on the window pane, perched precariously between lies and freedom.
"Reno, thank you."
"No big deal. I have one thing I wanna ask, though." Cissnei cocks her head to the side, questioning.
"What is your real name anyway?"
"Top secret. I'd tell you but then I'd have to kill you, Reno."
He folds his arms across his chest and scoffs, eyes on the floor. "Once a Turk, always a Turk then, huh?"
Reno looks over to wear she stood, but there's nothing more than the breeze blowing the curtains.